Fifty years after his assassination, Patrice Lumumba, Prime Minister of the newly independent Congo, is back to haunt Belgium. Through commemorations, encounters and a return visit, a top-ranking Belgian civil servant who was in Elisabethville on that tragic day of 17 January 1961 attempts to exorcise the ghosts of the past. To the sound of St John Passion by J.S. Bach, Spectres plunges us into one of the blackest days of the Belgian Congo’s decolonisation. An examination of the biopolitical body, this feature-length film by Sven Augustijnen exposes the fine line separating legitimation and historiography and the traumatic question of responsability and debt.
Spectres won the Public Libraries Prize and GNCR Prize and received a special mention from the jury of the International Competition at FID Marseille (FR). At Filmer à Tout Prix (BE) it won the Prize of the Flemish Community.
As part of Sven Augustijnen's solo exhibition a book Spectres is published by ASA Publishers.
Concept and image Sven Augustijnen
Production assistent Fairuz
Editing Mathieu Haessler and Sven Augustijnen
Sound recording Benoît Bruwier and Jeff Levillain
Sound mixing Benoît Bruwier
Music St Johns Passion, J.S. Bach (performed by La Petite Bande)
Produced by Auguste Orts, co-produced by Projections, Cobra Films and Jan Mot
With the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund, CERA Partners in Art, Mu.ZEE, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg, WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Vlaams-Nederlands Huis deBuren, de Appel arts centre, Marres Centre for Contemporary Culture, Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie, Kunsthalle Bern, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Kunstencentrum BUDA, FLACC Workplace for Visual Artists, Fonds Régional d'Art Contemporain - Région Bourgogne, Le Fresnoy studio national des arts contemporains