World Cinema Amsterdam | Internationaal filmfestival | 18 – 27 Augustus 2016

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Benda Bilili!

Renaud Barret & Florent de La Tullaye | Congo, France| 2010 | 85' | Lingala, French spoken, Dutch subtitles
If you only know the music, and dont know any better, you might think that it is created by the happiest musicians ever, who have everything they could desire. The documentary Benda Bilili! (roughly translated: looking beneath the surface) reveals a very different picture, however the incredible story of Congolese band Staff Benda Bilili. The members of the band are seven musicians who live on the streets; four of them became paralysed by polio when they were young. Camping out in the neighbourhood of the zoo in Kinshasa one of the poorest cities on the African continent the seven musicians have to survive among all the poverty and crime. And they manage to do so, with verve, thanks to their music. Under the leadership of Ricky Likabu, the band play an irresistible mix of blues, reggae and rumba, spiced up with African rhythms and using home-made instruments. Their 'lead guitarist' 17-year-old Roger Landu is a virtuoso on the qatong, for example: an empty food tin fitted with a neck and a single string.

The inspirational lust for life generated by their music proves to be the key to international success. The film underlines this using footage from concerts in sold-out venues full of enthusiastic fans throughout Europe.

Thursday 19 August, +/-  09.30 uur, Marie Heinekenplein