Screened as part of NZIFF 2017

Félicité 2017

Directed by Alain Gomis

A singer living in the Congo city of Kinshasa, Félicité looks the world in the eye every time she sets foot on a bar stage. When her son is involved in a motorbike accident her defiant stance as a single woman is on the line.

Belgium / France / Germany / Lebanon / Senegal In French and Lingala with English subtitles
123 minutes DCP



Arnaud Dommerc
Oumar Sall
Alain Gomis


Alain Gomis
Delphine Zingg
Olivier Loustau


Céline Bozon


Fabrice Rouaud

Production designer

Oumar Sall

Costume designer

Nadine Otsobogo Boucher


Kasai Allstars
Arvo Pärt


Véro Tshanda Beya (Félicité)
Papi Mpaka (Tabu)
Gaetan Claudia (Samo)
Kasai Allstars


Berlin 2017


Grand Jury Prize
Berlin International Film Festival 2017


In this resonant tribute to fortitude under stress, Félicité (Véro Tshanda Beya) is a staunchly single woman who sings in a bar in Kinshasa. When her 14-year-old son is involved in a motorbike accident, the intervention of a persistent suitor may be her only hope of funding medical care.

“A loose, vibrant fourth feature film from Franco-Senegalese director Alain Gomis, Félicité... builds to a fever of energy and activity while never sketching out more than the bones of a narrative: It’s a film in which a hard-earned smile, the contact between one person’s skin and another’s, or a serene strain of music amid the everyday noise can qualify as a dramatic event. Following a proudly independent club singer through the ragged streets of Kinshasa as she seeks a way to save her hospitalized son, Gomis’ latest is far from the miserablist issue drama that synopsis portends, instead weaving a sensual, sometimes hopeful, sometimes disturbing urban tapestry withthreads of image, sound, poetry, and song...

In the title role, Congolese singer-turned-actress Véro Tshanda Beya proves entirely mesmerizing from the moment the camera alights on her strong-featured, deep-gazing face, sometimes shading entire histories of dismissal, disappointment, and ongoing resistance into a single expression...

The film’s jangling, diverse musical soundtrack practically functions as a screenplay in itself, charting Félicité’s shifting states of mind as it leaps from the Kasai Allstars’ breathless modern fusion of indigenous and international rock to the sober grace of the Kinshasa Symphonic Orchestra’s spin on Arvo Pärt.” — Guy Lodge, Variety