Red Rubber, Black Death

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During his reign, Leopold II authorized the implementation of such brutal measures in order to bring the indigenous people to their knees by any means necessary that over 10 million Congolese had died before it was over. Using the guise of bringing civilization and Christianity to the region, he rationalized exploiting the land and all of its citizens for profit, forcing them to work for slave wages in the rubber in the burgeoning rubber industry. The slightest resistance would result in having a hand chopped off, or worse

King Leopold II of Belgium conquered the Congo in 1885, and for more than 25 years he then ruled the colonized African nation with an iron fist. During his reign, he authorized the implementation of such brutal measures in order to bring the indigenous people to their knees by any means necessary that over 10 million Congolese had died before it was over. Using the guise of bringing civilization and Christianity to the region, he rationalized exploiting the land and all of its citizens for profit, forcing them to work for slave wages in the rubber in the burgeoning rubber industry. The slightest resistance would result in having a hand chopped off, or worse. Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death, directed by Peter Bate, revisits this disturbing chapter of African history in order to put the ruthless Leopold in proper perspective. For prior to this damning docu-drama, this beastly King had been the beneficiary of a totally contrived legacy which had misrepresented him as a benevolent despot.

Although often painful to watch, due to the gruesome nature of the graphically-depicted torture, Congo is another one of those long overdue myth-busters which serves to set a deceitful record straight. It is also the type of picture which ought to shake plenty of activists out of their complacency, since this low-budget gem shows that in this age of the video camera, the playing field has been considerably leveled, and you don’t have to have a lot of money to make a profound, cinematic impact on a mass audience

Excellent (3.5 stars)
Unrated
Running time: 84 minutes
Distributor: ArtMattan Productions

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