NEWS: Cinema Release: Benda Bilili!

Benda Bilili! is a real-life world music fairytale, lifting the lid on the Congolese music scene to reveal the incredible true story behind Kinshasa’s ghetto stars; Staff Benda Bilili, the world music sensation who have exploded onto the scene with their critically acclaimed debut album, ‘Tres, Tres, Fort’, and electric performances at Glastonbury and WOMAD and festivals world-wide. Staff Benda Bilili’s distinct musical style is a seductive mix of Congolese rumba, James Brown-esque funk, Cuban mambo, ancestral trance and Jimi Hendrix-esque flourishes from Roger Landu, the former street kid virtuoso.

Ricky has a dream: to make Staff Benda Bilili the best band in Congo Kinshasa. Roger, a street child, more than ever wants to join these stars of the ghetto, who get around in customized tricycles.

Together, they must avoid the pitfalls of the street, stay united and find the force to hope in music.

Opening Directors Fortnight at Cannes this year, Renaud Barret and Florent de la Tullaye’s uplifting film is a frank and intimate portrait of the band, their musical energy and social observation of the realities of life in the Congo. Hotly tipped to be the next Buena Vista Social Club, Benda Bilili! Is a rare cinematic discovery, a powerful and inspirational film that follows the extraordinary journey of the band over the course of six years, from when we first encounter them performing and living on the streets of Kinshasa to recording their acclaimed debut album and headlining at international music festivals.

Benda Bilili! is the story of a dream become reality; a tale of triumph over adversity which embraces the band’s creed; to be true to oneself, take pride, be strong, and never give up.

Film: Benda Bilili!
Release date: 18th March 2011
Certificate: PG
Running time: 86 mins
Director: Renaud Barret & Florent de La Tullaye
Starring: Maria Barli Djongo, Renaud Barret, Cubain Kabeya, Vincent Kenis, Paulin Kiara-Maigi
Genre: Documentary
Studio: Trinity
Format: Cinema
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo/France

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