Passport Series 2017

Félicité (Senegal/Congo)

Crisscrossing the streets of Kinshasa, Félicité (Congolese singer Véro Tshanda Beya) searches for money to pay for her son's surgery. As a creed against family cruelty, misogyny, and inept public services, French-Senegalese director Alain Gomis' film quietly and righteously smoulders. Félicité makes a living as a nightclub singer, and the film lovingly immerses us into her dynamic, grooving performances with indigenous rockers the Kasai Allstars and a haunting turn with the Kinshasa symphony orchestra. Blocked in every attempt to save her son, it is one of the nightclub's patrons who finally lends Félicité a helping hand. At this point, the film blossoms into a tentative romance, while still returning to its heart, pulsing with the life-giving blood of music and poetry.

"A gritty and uncompromising take on the classic musical genre, and while the picture-perfect Hollywood couple in La La Land sings odes to the perils of love and stardom, Felicite simply sings to survive." (Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter)

"Gomis' latest is far from the miserablist issue drama that synopsis portends, instead weaving a sensual, sometimes hopeful, sometimes disturbing urban tapestry with threads of image, sound, poetry, and song." (Guy Lodge, Variety)