BBC - Mark Kermode's film blog

« Previous | Main | Next »

Benda Bilili

Post categories:

Mark Kermode | 15:54 UK time, Friday, 13 May 2011

There's a brilliant new music documentary called Benda Bilili just coming out on DVD - it's about an band of Congolese street musicians who go from the ghettos of Kinshasa to touring the world with their amazing music.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructionsIf you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit Mark's blog to view the video.

Elsewhere on the web
- Benda Bilili on IMDB


  • Comment number 1.

    Fantastic. The album (Très Très Fort) has been regularly spinning on my CD player for the past year or so, but I had absolutely no idea they were making a film too! I shall have to check it out.

  • Comment number 2.

    So glad you posted this up Dr K! I was really interested when I heard about this on the 5 live podcast, but couldn't figure out how you actually spelt the title of the film! I'd definitely love to see this.

  • Comment number 3.

    I only went to see this because my mother wanted to. Pardon me for pre-judging but I felt it would be another sob-story, sopa operaesque documentary that Channel 4 and 5 seem to think are cutting edge.

    I was completely blown away by the sheer energy of the piece. The music is incredible - so lively and rhythmic that literally have you dancing in your seat (yes I mean literally) The band themselves are fascinating also. Their relationships with each other is incredibly moving - they are all one big family, not literally mind you, but they all unite on common ground (being homeless and/or disabled) and make the most amazing music. This is a genuine triumph over adversity that is profound but incredibly optimistic. Never does it demand you feel sorry for them with overwrought music and a close up - they let the people tell the story. I can't remember names but the substory of the young boy with the instrument described Mark (the tin can, wood and string) is incredible.

    The good Doctor has pretty much summed it up here, but this is undoubtedly the most worthy film for the 'feel good movie of the year' title.

  • Comment number 4.

    A friend of mine went to see this film and raved about it afterwards, but it wasn't shown anywhere near me. Will definitely be looking out for the DVD.


  • Comment number 5.

    If you can't see these guys live - London Roundhouse Sunday night for instance - get to see the film on DVD - it's uplifting, life-affirming, unsentimental with added superb African dance music!

  • Comment number 6.

    Say I watched this 'Benda Bilili' and disliked it, would that be okay?

  • Comment number 7.

    @Matth Stil: I think that would be perfectly acceptable. Would you say Kermode is correct in his assessment that this is "life-affirming" moreso than say, another music movie, "A Hard Day's Night" ?

  • Comment number 8.

    BTW, Kermode. I'm disappointed you didn't even review the latest Fast & Furious movie. It was fun, period. Isn't that in and of itself, "life-affirming," Doctor K?

  • Comment number 9.

    Thankfully with the release of the DVD I'll be able to see this wonderful doco. Can't wait for it to arrive. I've been intrigued ever since the good Dr first brought this to the attention of Wittertainment and Kermode blog devotees.

  • Comment number 10.

    Do yourselves a favour and buy both the DVD and their album Tres Tres Fort. And if you want your life to be not just affirmed but revitalised then go see them live - when they roll out of their wheelchairs and dance, you'll listen to music in a whole new way.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.