Félicité (2017) Poster


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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
JvH4812 March 2017
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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DR of the Congo
westsideschl19 February 2018
Set in Kinshasa, DR of the Congo, where a woman sings in a bar to support herself and her son. What is noteworthy is what seems to be the authentic poverty of the area and how people cope with it. Also noteworthy is the anger from having to fight for the basics of life that hopeless poverty engenders. Also noteworthy was how sexually manipulated females (to various degrees not uncommon throughout the world) continually are as they struggle to exist.
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real - tough but free
jandeloore8 May 2017
+ very realistic view on Kinshasa today. I've been there a year ago and this film took me right back to the bumpy, colorful streets. the human part of the film was very real and touching. one feels like being there with them.

+ very good music. especially the Congolese songs!

  • pity of the blue, arty images woven throughout the main story. for me they don't add any value, on the contrary, they make the movie 30min too long.

= overall: very good acting, real and interesting view on black Africa: it shows that third world societies are just as valuable as the ones in the western world. they look different and maybe scary to some, but we should learn from there way of life, instead of imposing our view on them.

we have what they lack (good healthcare, good infrastructure, etc) but they have what we lack: social cohesion, time and most of all: freedom!
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Rising up with music and song as troubles arrive
namos-993-64397021 October 2018
The strong lead actors, the lively Congolese music in the small, smoky clubs, and the bizarre dream sequences worked together to enhance this dark portrayal of a feisty woman who strives to live by her own means. What would any of us not do to care for a child in desperate need, whether mother, father, family, or friend? I could feel Felicite's panic and determination as she tried to provide for her son's care. I went a little crazy right along with her. Been to Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda, but not DRC yet. Still the street scenes, the daily life felt familiar and true.
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For those who like classics
rosspusey21 October 2018
This film is a classic film about life in the cultural setting of the Congo. I was concerned this would be an emotionally heavy movie for no reason but it turned out to be an intriguing and at times even gripping film about life for what could have easily been one of us, a neighbor, or family member. You feel a connection to the characters and an affection for their imperfect perfections in just being people. What makes this a classic versus just a good film was the quality of the acting. In classic films where body language and relationship development are centered and words are reserved to emphasize the moment this film ensures you are watching every move of the characters as much as listening for what is said next. I'd recommend this film to anyone who enjoys the art of cinema.
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ilsak3 January 2018
I have seen African Movies before, far better than this one , f.i. Timboktoe, . There are great singers in Congo, too bad . I had expected much more of the movie. Also the story was boring, there could be much more. It gives a good sight on Congo today the big cities, with people hungry for money (the woman at the hospital taking the medicine) ...
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