Dir: Alain Gomis | France / Senegal / Belgium / Germany / Lebanon 2017 | Lingala | Drama | 123 min · Colour
Senegalese Auteur Alain Gomis is best remember for Today his striking portrait of a man’s final hours in Dakar. Félicité is another resonant snapshot of a proud and independent woman that gradually opens its focus from an individual to an entire society in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Félicité (Vero Tschanda) works as a singer in a bar in Kinshasa. Whenever she goes on stage, she appears to leave the world and her everyday worries behind as her audiences are quickly infected by the rhythm of her music and her powerful, melancholy melodies. But then one day Félicité’s son has a terrible accident. Whilst he is in hospital she desperately tries to raise the money needed for his operation. A breathless tour through the impoverished streets and the wealthier districts of the Congolese capital ensues. One of the bar’s regulars is a man named Tabu who has been known to get carried away in every sense of the term. Tabu offers to help Félicité. Reluctantly, she accepts. After his spell in hospital, Félicité’s son has a hard time picking up his old life, but it is lady’s man Tabu of all people who manages to coax him out of his shell. Félicité’s sparsely furnished flat with its permanently defunct fridge becomes a mini utopia in a country that holds no hope for most of its population. Led by a impressive and gutsy performance by Tschanda, the trio forms an eccentric community thrown together by fate, each of whom is free to go their separate ways together.
BERLINALE 9-19 FEBRUARY | IN COMPETITION |