In this evaluation, we will be comparing and contrasting the works of King Leopold’s ghost book and movie. We look at the differences and the similarities of the two literacy works and the role they play in the society. Looking at the similarities, both the book and the movie showcase how greed and violence affected the state of affairs in Congo republic and how the international community worked its way to retain sanity in the land. They both give a report of the genocides, harassment and torture that the people of Congo had to go through and how the violence imparted on their lifestyle and economy.
The main difference between the two literatures is that the movie gives us the Congo report in form of a documentary while the book gives it in form of a literature review. Analyzing the book and the movie, one can get more details about the historic events in Congo by reading the book rather than watching the movie (Hochschild 87). There are certain historic facts and characters that have been mentioned in the book yet they have not been reflected in the movie. This therefore implies that if a person requires a detailed analysis of what happened in Congo, then the book will serve them right.
The movie on the other hand gives a more figurative coverage of events that happened in Congo during the reign of king Leopold. Compared to the book, one can almost have a vivid picture of what happened. It brings historical images of the events almost to reality and hence making the audience empathize with the situation. It may not be as interesting to read the book as it is to watch the film. A person who has not been to Africa can almost understand the cultural implication of the people and other historical factors that could have lead to the issues that were faced by the people. There is much more that one can obtain from the movie in terms of knowledge by simply observing the background and other visual aspect. In fact, by simply watching the movie, someone who is observant can obtain more information about Congo and Africa compared to one reading the book.
A distinct similarity of the movie and the book is based on the fact that the western community did a lot in delivering Congo and the entire region of Africa from autocratic leadership. It is clear from the movie and the book that despite what king Leopold was doing to the people, there is little they could do about it. They knew they were being tortured yet they did not have the courage and the voice to speak out. They had the option of staying silent and saving their lives or condemn the leadership and face the risk of dying or loosing any of their body parts. The king believed that his word was final and nobody, irrespective of the status they held in the society was allowed to oppose the king (Twain, 56). The two literatures gives as a review of how the people were finally liberalized and how such freedom imparted on the economic and political standing of the nation.
The book and the movie play a vital role in displaying historical events that took place many years ago. They mainly serve as a challenge to current leaders who still feel that Africa is in a bad shape. Despite the other challenges that are being faced by the continent, historical reviews reveals that there is a lot that has happened in Africa, which has transformed the continent to the better (Bickford-Smith, 65). For the suffering masses in Africa, the literature in the movie and the book aims at bringing them a sigh of relieve with the full knowledge that if they came from that far, then they are definitely going far. They are also a reminder to the people that they should not take it for granted what they have achieved as it was fought for by loyal citizens, most of whom did not live long enough to enjoy such liberty.
Bickford-Smith, Vivian. Black and white in colour: African history on screen. New York:
James Currey Publishers, 2007.
Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold’s ghost: a story of greed, terror, and heroism in Colonial
Africa. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999.
Twain, Mark. King Leopold’s soliloquy. London: LeftWord Books, 1971.