Félicité sings in a bar in Kinshasa. When her 14-year-old son has a motorcycle accident, she goes on a frantic search through the streets of Kinshasa, a world of music and dreams. And her path crosses that of Tabu.
Filled with pride and a sense of freedom, Félicité is a night singer in a bar in Kinshasa. Her life changed totally when her 14-year-old son had a motorcycle accident. To save him, she embarks on a frenetic race through the streets of an electric Kinshasa, a world of music and dreams. Her path crosses that of Tabu's.Written by
Carthage Film Festival
Looks like a realistic portrait of Congo nowadays, interesting for that reason alone, but offers much more. Depressing core story, some welcome relief every now and then
Seen at the Berlinale 2017, and part of the official Competition for the Golden Bear. Better still, director Alain Gomis won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize, awarded by the Berlinale 2017 International Jury. I assume that lead performer Félicité (Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu) has also something to do with delivering such a compelling movie, despite its minor imperfections (minimal budget? non-pro actors?), and losing most of its steam after the hunt for money to pay the hospital bills.
Apart from personal dramatic developments, I have all reasons to assume we get a realistic portrait of contemporary Congo. What we see in hospitals, on the streets and in shops looks like what we can expect, still informative to have it spelled out on screen. Three main protagonists carry the story very well, though the son does not talk much (with reason). I propose to count Félicité's fridge as fourth protagonist, by showing odd behavior and bringing people together who would not meet otherwise, thereby several times causing some welcome relief from the depressing core story.
It is remarkable that Tabu does not expect sexual favors in return, or at least it is not shown. Yet, Tabu has a special role in addition to getting Félicité's son out of the hospital, and he does that by interacting with the son and making him feel alive and useful again, despite the crutches he must live with for the rest of his life. It is understandable that the son is in a severely low mood after his release from hospital, and it was not easy to get him out of it.
All in all, Félicité's tour in and around the city to raise money for her son's operation, is depressing but very nice as a touristic tour around the city, also serving as social commentary on its inhabitants. A personal note: I was distracted at first because of everyone calling each other Mama and Papa. It took some time to get used to it. It seems to be the standard shorthand forms for Mr and Mrs in Congo (or maybe a less formal form, like Heer and Vrouw as we remember from the dialect in our youth, a side remark that can be understood by native Dutch speakers only). I had no problems at all to sustain the 2 hours running time, as something interesting happens all the time, especially the money-raising tour that covers a considerable and important part of it.
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