film: Benda Bilili!


A real-life world music fairytale, BENDA BILILI! tells the incredible true story behind Kinshasa’s ghetto stars, STAFF BENDA BILILI, and their distinctive musical style; a seductive mix of Congolese rumba, James Brown-esque funk, Cuban mambo, ancestral trance and Jimi Hendrix-esque flourishes.

For six years, from the first rehearsals to the release of their acclaimed debut album, Tres, Tres Fort and triumph at international festivals, BENDA BILILI! (literal translated as “to look beyond appearances”) is the story of this dream come reality. Opening Directors Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival last 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 Kinshasa.  BENDA BILILI! is a rare cinematic discovery, like BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB did for Cuban music, the film is set to lift the lid on the Congolese/Kinshasa music scene, revealing a hotbed of extraordinary talent and creativity.

BENDA BILILI! embraces the band’s creed; to be true to oneself, take pride, be strong, and never give up.

The film is released in cinemas across the UK on March 18th.

There will also be on tour in the UK from the 14th-25th May.

Film Website

Staff Benda Bilili Page