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Saturday, June 15
1:00 PM - 3:45 PM

National Gallery of Art, East Building Auditorium

4th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565

Soundtrack to a Coup d’Etat


Johan Grimonprez


Daan Milius, Rémi Grellety


Rik Chaubet


Jonathan Wannyn

It is the year 1961, six months after the admission of 16 newly independent African countries to the UN; a political earthquake that shifts the majority vote from the colonial powers to the Global South. As Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev bangs his shoe in indignation at the UN’s complicity in the overthrow of Lumumba, the US State Department swings into action by sending jazz ambassador Louis Armstrong to the Congo to deflect attention from the CIA-backed coup.

Featuring excerpts from My Country, Africa by Andrée Blouin (narrated by Marie Daulne aka Zap Mama), Congo Inc. by In Koli Jean Bofane, To Katanga and Back by Conor Cruise O’Brien (narrated by Patrick Cruise O’Brien), and audio memoirs by Nikita Khrushchev.

Director, Soundtrack to a Coup d'Etat

Informed by an archeology of present-day media, Johan Grimonprez’s work depicts intimate stories that brush up against the bigger picture of globalization. Grimonprez’s feature films include Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (1997), made in collaboration with novelist Don DeLillo, selected by the Guardian as one of the “30 great works in the history of video art”; Double Take (2009) made in collaboration with writer Tom McCarthy; and Shadow World (2016), made in collaboration with investigative journalist Andrew Feinstein. It premiered at the Tribeca Festival and won the Best Documentary Feature Award at the 2016 Edinburgh International Film Festival. Traveling the festival circuit from the Berlinale and Sundance to Tribeca, Grimonprez’s films have garnered several Best Director awards, the 2005 ZKM International Media Award, an Independent Spirit Award, and the 2009 Black Pearl Award at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. His films have been acquired by PBS, NBC Universal, ARTE, and BBC/FILM 4. Grimonprez’s curatorial projects have been exhibited at museums worldwide, including the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, and MoMA in New York City. His works are in the collections of Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa; and Tate Modern, London.