Skip to main content

Benda Bilili! review

A musical Congolese motley crew make for compelling viewing in this uplifting doc

Take the Buena Vista Social Club, add some wheelchairs and you have Staff Benda Bilili (which loosely translates as ‘look beyond appearances’), a Congolese collective who make life on the streets of Kinshasa more bearable with their infectious rhythms, homemade instruments and irrepressible spirit.

Caught on camera by French directors Renaud Barret and Florent de la Tullaye, this motley bunch includes four paraplegics, a child percussionist and a teen capable of making sweet music from a metal wire stuck in a tin.

Put together they create a life-affirming ensemble whose heads are refreshingly unturned by the success that comes their way over this winning documentary’s five-year time-frame.

More info

Available platformsMovie