In 2004, two French directors stumble upon a local band in Kinshasa. They’re sitting in the street in self-built wheelchairs because they’ve all suffered from polio, but despite living in the streets, their groovy music is full of joy, and it spellbinds the Frenchmen. They decide to follow the band around, and end up staying with them for six years, documenting the band’s journey from a small street outfit with stray kids as their only audience to playing Europe’s big stages with thousands of people dancing to their funky music. All the while, the filmmakers develop intimate friendships with the band, resulting in a little movie gem that comes very close to its characters.
Benda Bilili | Directed by Florent de la Tullaye, Renaud Barret (France 2010) with with Staff Benda Bilili. Opens May 19