Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu plays a mother scratching a living in the Congolese capital in Alain Gomis’s dramatic, compassionate study

Franco-Senegalese film-maker Alain Gomis has created a film portrait in an ambient social-realist style, showing us a woman called Félicité: a bar singer in the tough streets of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Gomis leaves it up to us to determine the precise level of irony in her name.

Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu is a formidable presence as Félicité, a single mum of a tearaway teen boy Samo (Gaetan Claudia), for whom she must stay strong. She is scratching a living with her music, evidently bruised and humbled by the reverses of her life, drifting into a relationship with Tabu (Papi Mpaka), the boozy, unreliable guy who once came to repair her fridge.

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