Félicité is a nightclub singer in a little bar in Kinshasa who lives alone
with her teenage son Samo. When Samo severely injures himself in a
motorcycle accident, Félicité must find a way to raise the money to pay
for an operation or allow her son’s leg to be amputated. The originality
and power of French-Senegalese director Alain Gomis’s fourth feature
lies in the way it transcends this simple against-the-clock narrative,
the kind of story that has driven films of social realism from Bicycle
Thieves to the Dardenne brothers, to create a shifting, complex portrait
of the struggles, joys, and imagination of a modern-day heroine—and
by extension, of the city she lives in. Filming in the Democratic Repub-
lic of Congo, a country previously unfamiliar to him, Gomis confirms
the tremendous promise of his earlier films, walking a porous line
between dream and waking life, magic and bureaucracy, observation
and fantasy, that at its best suggests a new cinematic language. Alive
with the diverse sounds of various Kinshasa musicians, Félicité is an
engrossing, deep dive into the days and, especially, nights of a city by
turns nightmarish and surprisingly radiant.

Alain Gomis

Alain Gomis

Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu
Gaetan Claudia
Papi Mpaka

Lingala, French
129 min.
France, Belgium, Senegal,
Germany, Lebanon, 2017
DCP, Blu-Ray, DVD, ProRes

Strand Releasing