Don't wait to be spoon-fed history lessons in director Raoul Peck's vibrant, no-holds-barred film Lumumba. It's the story of Patrice Lumumba (Eriq Ebouaney, in a passionate performance), the first black prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the nation derived from a former Belgian colony. The biopic races through the explosive period of the Congo's fight for independence, from the late 1950s to Lumumba's fiery and tragically brief two-month reign before his assassination in 1960. Having previously directed an acclaimed documentary on this subject, Peck (who co-wrote the new film's script with Pascal Bonitzer) is well-versed on Lumumba and unapologetically reveals his contradictions and complexities and how his ambitions led to his gruesome demise. (The director strongly suggests that Lumumba's death was due in great part to Western powers not being keen on Congolese independence.) Peck bounces back and forth through Lumumba's life, wasting no time on historical exposition (which, although it risks losing parts of the audience, also imbues the film with a refreshing frankness and energy); he hurls Lumumba through the messy business of Cold War politics that finally overwhelmed him. The film is in French with English subtitles.