Félicité, free and proud, is a singer in the evenings in a bar in Kinshasa. Her life changes when her 14-year-old son is the victim of a motorcycle accident. To save him, she begins a frantic race through the streets of an electric Kinshasa, a world of music and dreams.
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It is mesmerizingly beautiful, breathtakingly painful, and deliberately dreamy. Stylistically enough, those fantasy interludes with classical ensemble brings such a ingenious insight of the singer/title character meanwhile her gloomy night-crawling dreams adds depth to her failures as her backstory enfolds.
The music inserts with the Kinshasa Symphony and Choir create a totally different and strange area of experience because the music of Arvo Pärt (the orchestra playing "Fratres") appears like an alien object related to the plot. But that's - like the atmospheric night sequences - a reason for the fascination of the film … although its cultural codes are sometimes difficult to decipher.
A combination of the mundane, the streets of Kinshasa with daily routines, and strange night time dreamy goings on. Contrasting music, with the Kasai Allstars grooving on down, and orchestral and choral interludes. All this as the backdrop for the mother-son relationship fuelling Felicite's endeavours, increasingly desperate. Excellent portrayal of complex relationships. A satisfactory resolution, on her terms.
One of the most powerful films I have ever seen, with a truly touching mother-son relationship and a magnificent built up of a love affair between the main characters. With captivating performances, an incredibly beautiful soundtrack and an ability to leave you feeling you've just spent a couple of years in central Africa! A true gem!
Powerful, moving, and eye-opening. Excellent performances by all of the cast, but the lead is amazing. Also agree with other reviewers that the intercut elements with the orchestra/choir and the night sequences add a dream-like quality. When life is a struggle, it is human to create and interact with our own reality as well as the world 'outside'. Perhaps this is what I got most from this film. Watch it! :)
The ubiquitous use of diverse music and sound accompanies wonderful streetscape scenes of the vibrant and colourful Kinshasa. Félicité's exhausting, resilient and heartfelt journey is reminiscent of Marion Cotillard's character in Two Days, One Night.
Incredible performance from the lead but the film's an hour too long - not a fan of the dreamy sequences and hanging on shots for no particular reasons - lost interest a couple of times. First half very strong