Congolese film “Felicite” premieres at Berlinale

Alain Gomis takes his film “Felicite” to Berlin, saying the drama about a woman living in Kinshasa shows ‘the difficult realities’ of life.

BERLIN, GERMANY (FEBRUARY 11, 2017) (REUTERS) – Kinshasa comes to life in director Alain Gomis’ feature film “Felicite”, which is competing 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 film doesn’t deny problems, it talks about the problems that exist but makes very clear that we could build something together and what we wanted to do in this film was to be optimistic but not optimistic in a very naive sort of way but optimistic within the framework of our reality the difficult realities that we encounter with a view to continuing this constant revolution, keeping on constructing – building, as Papi says at one point ‘I’ll be your soldier’, we need to keep on remaking things again and again and again we’re beautiful, we’re dignified, we’re worthy and it’s a film which looks to the future I believe,” Gomis told a news conference on Saturday (February 11) at the Berlinale.

Starring newcomer Véro Tshanda Beya as Felicite, the documentary-style film follows her struggle when her son, played by Gaetan Claudia, who is badly injured in an accident. At the same time she is involved in a romantic relationship with troubled mechanic Tabu (Papi Mpaka).

“It was a fantastic experience first of all it was amazing to work with such a great director, someone as fantastic as Alain Gomis we learnt a great deal from him, which shows everyday life in Kinshasa that’s the way we live and I think what was very interesting as well, I liked this role because I see this kind of thing happening mothers, children dying everyday 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 – it’s hard to put it into words – it was a really fantastic experience – that’s all I can tell you really,” Véro Tshanda Beya said at the news conference.

Gomis, the son of a French mother and Senegalese father, is known for other films like “Tey” – which won much acclaim when it debuted at this same festival five years ago.

Felicite is one of 18 films competing in this year’s Berlinale. The awards will be handed out on February 18.