Home Box Office will present a pair of African-American-themed projects in
HBO Films president Colin Callender announced Tuesday that the premium
service will showcase The Middle Passage and Lumumba during Black
The Middle Passage takes a realistic look at the horrors of the
trans-Atlantic slave trade and features narration adapted from the original
French-language version of the film by acclaimed novelist Walter Mosley and
performed by Djimon Hounsou (Amistad).
Structured as a poetic rumination, it is told entirely through the voiceover
of a dead African captive whose spirit haunts the ocean route along which
millions of Africans died or were deported to the Americas.
Raoul Peck's (Man by the Shore) acclaimed Lumumba chronicles
the rise and fall of the Congolese leader.
Based on a true story, the film paints an emotional and highly authentic
portrait of the man who became the first head of government of the newly
independent Congo in the 1960s. Less than eight months later, he was deposed and
HBO will present Lumumba in two versions. Director Peck and veteran
sound editor Dan Edelstein (Life Is Beautiful) have created an
English-language version that will air on HBO. The film will also air in its
original French version with English subtitles on HBO Signature.
'We're very excited by the prospect of broadening the scope of inquiry this
Black History Month to address the complex relationship between America and
Africa,' Callender said in a prepared statement.
'At a time when we so seldom see images or stories from the African Diaspora,
we're very proud to provide a unique platform for two important filmmaking
voices from the Caribbean,' he added.