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TO NOV. 27
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Patrice Lumumba served as Congo’s prime minister for only six months before Western governments had him deposed and then killed. Yet he lives on as a martyr of African independence, notably in two films by director Raoul Peck. The second, a dramatization of Lumumba’s life, caused a stir at Visions earlier this year; the first, a 1993 documentary titled Lumumba: Death of a Prophet, is one of the highlights of this festival of films about (and usually by) Africans. The documentary screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, with The Life and Times of Sara Baartman: The Hottentot Venus, a 52-minute study of a 19th-century African woman who was exhibited in European freak shows. Also included are two movies by leading Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene (both at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7): 1965’s Black Girl, the story of an African woman who’s destroyed when she leaves home to work as a maid on the French Riviera, and 2000’s Faat-Kine (pictured), about a businesswoman and single mother in Senegal today. The fest concludes (at 6 and 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27) with a program of recent shorts: In A Girl for Souleymane, a young Senegalese man creates an imaginary world to counter his lonely life in Paris; Smoke in the Eyes is about the romance of two Africans in Brussels; A Closeup on Bintou satirizes traditional standards of wifely behavior in Burkina Faso; and Watt is about a Congolese man who must choose between his girlfriend and his boombox. To Tuesday, Nov. 27, at the National Geographic Society’s Grosvenor Auditorium, 16th and M Streets NW. $10. (202) 857-7700. (Mark Jenkins)