Modern-day Kinshasa comes to life in director Alain Gomis’ movie “Felicite”, which is competing in the competition at the Berlin Film Festival.
The drama about a woman working as a singer in a bar shows the realities of life in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the director told a news conference on Saturday (February 11) at the Berlinale.
‘‘It talks about the problems that exist, but makes very clear that we could build something together, what we wanted to do in this film was to be optimistic, but not optimistic in a naive way but optimistic within the framework of our reality, the difficult realities that we encounter.’‘
Starring newcomer Vero Tshanda Beya as Felicite, the documentary-style film follows her struggle when her son, played by Gaetan Claudia, is hurt badly injured in an accident as well as a new romantic relationship she embarks on with troubled mechanic Tabu (Papi Mpaka).
‘‘It was a fantastic experience .. to work with such a great director, someone as fantastic as Alain Gomis we learnt a great deal from him,’‘ Vero Tshanda Beya said at the news conference.
Going on to add that the honest depiction of her character’s struggle to save her son was what attracted her to the role:
‘‘I liked this role because I see this kind of thing happening mothers, children – dying, every day in the hospital – that’s what you see in the DRC – it touched me and it hurt to have the scenes in the hospital and I put my whole heart into the film because of that.’‘
Music also plays a part in the film too, with concert scenes and a performance from the Symphonic Orchestra of Kinshasa.
‘‘The point of having the orchestra for me that was exactly what I wanted to do, I wanted to create a sense of detachment to bring you back to yourself,’‘ Gomis explained.
Felicite is one of 18 films competiting in this year’s Berlinale competition, the awards will be handed out on February 18. The festival ends on February 19.