WINNER: Fipresci Jury Award for BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
Bursting at the seams with energy, Franco-Senegalese filmmaker Alain Gomis’s Berlin festival prizewinner immerses us in the sights and sounds of Kinshasa while loosely chronicling the day-to-day travails of the eponymous single-mom and nightclub-chanteuse (Congolese singer Véro Tshanda Beya, in an unforgettable performance) at the heart of the film.
When Félicité is not scraping together a living by singing (Beya’s whiskey-soaked vocals are one of the film’s marvels) she is suffering the slights and quotidian indignities faced by a single mom on the city’s mean streets. Things come to a crisis point when her 14-year-old son is badly injured, and Félicité finds herself short of the cash needed to ensure her son’s survival. Cinematographer Céline Bozon’s prowling camera and Gomis’s rambunctious direction make this vibrant milieu come alive, while Beya’s performance and the near-constant use of music (in addition to Beya, the film features the Kasai Allstars and the Kinshasa Symphonic Orchestra) make for an indelible journey.
Winner: Grand Prize (Silver Bear), Berlin
In competition for the FIPRESCI Prize.
|Running Time:||123 minutes|
|Language:||Lingala and French (deaf-friendly)|
|Awards:||Academy Award Shortlist, Best Foreign Language Film; Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize, Berlin International Film Festival; FACE Award for Best Film, Istanbul Film Festival; Best Film, African Movie Academy Awards; Sliver Hugo, Special Jury Prize, Chicago International Film Festival|
|Producers:||Arnaud Dommerc, Alain Gomis, Oumar Sall|
|Principal Cast:||Véro Tshanda Beya, Papi Mpaka, Gaetan Claudia|
|Editor:||Alain Gomis, Fabrice Rouaud|
|Music:||The Kasaï Allstars|
|Screenwriter:||Alain Gomis, Delphine Zingg, Olivier Loustau|