King Leopold's Ghost

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Average Rating: 3.7/5

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Movie Info

Filmmakers Pippa Scott and Oreet Rees explore the reprehensible legacy of Belgium's King Leopold II in this documentary adaptation of Adam Hochschild's best-selling book. His envy growing as powerful neighbors France, England, and the Netherlands began claiming valuable African coastal land in order to access a variety of precious resources, Leopold eventually opted to follow the path carved out by explorer Henry Morgan Stanley that led directly into the heart of the Congo. An agent for private interests whose primary goal it was to build routes out of the Congo so that the valuable resources could be exported back to Europe, Stanley achieved his goal by utilizing forced labor and effectively militarizing what was previously a land of tribal alliances. With Leopold's grip on the region gradually tightening until it became, for all intents and purposes, his own private reserve, the devious ruler would subsequently launch a successful public relationship campaign stressing that his enterprise was both humane and anti-slavery oriented. Narrated by a series of experts and actors who include Don Cheadle, James Cromwell, and Alfie Woodard, Scott and Rees' film eventually turns its attentions towards contemporary events that chillingly recall Leopold's notorious endeavor.

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Critic Reviews for King Leopold's Ghost

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (10)

  • Although King Leopold's Ghost dwells perhaps too long on the viciousness, it does offer clues on how it became a circle.

    Sep 28, 2006 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • An often infuriating (and excruciating) film to watch, but one that gets to the root of the despair that now plagues so much of the African continent.

    Sep 28, 2006
  • King Leopold's Ghost can be recommended as an economical education in one of the lesser-known atrocities of the capitalist system, as well as an eye-opening account of history's most ruthless amasser of wealth.

    Aug 23, 2006

    Andrew Sarris

    Top Critic
  • In its hard-hitting depiction of a legacy of unspeakable brutality, this film shows that the ghosts of Leopold are alive and well.

    Aug 18, 2006
  • The movie, directed by Pippa Scott and Oreet Rees, includes beautifully shot footage of the lush landscape, plus horrifying black and white footage and stills of the Congolese under the yoke of Leopold and his successors.

    Aug 18, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • Europe's genocidal adventures in Africa receive a passionate reckoning in this ambitious documentary based on Adam Hochschild's best-selling history of the same title.

    Aug 18, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/5

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