Friday, March 18, 2011

Documentary about Congolese disabled musicians Staff Benda Bilili opens in UK

From NTD News in the UK:

Benda Bilili is not only a very interesting music documentary shot on the streets of Congo’s capital, but it is also a powerful story of hope and determination. Spanning five years in the making, the movie traces the lives of an unusual Congolese “orchestra” called Staff Benda Bilili.

The band consists of a group of resourceful street kids and wheelchair bound talented musicians, with one shared dream—to make it big in Europe.

French filmmakers Renaud Barret and Florent de la Tullaye met the group by chance after hearing them busk outside a restaurant, and immediately fell in love with their music.

The pair spent the next six years filming the band on the streets of Kinshasa and helped them record their first album. Now, Staff Benda Bilili is number one in the World Music Charts and is touring the world to great success.

Co-director Renaud Barret tell us how meeting the band has changed their lives.

[Renaud Barret, Co-director, Benda Bilili Movie]:
“They taught us so much about ourselves, about what you can bear and what you cannot bear. And also what are your motivations and what are your dreams. And when you get a dream you have to stick to it and to hang on to it, that’s what the Benda Bilili taught us, because as you see them living in the conditions they are living, and the talent they have and the energy they have to make things happen and to hang onto their dream. I mean they just gave us their energy, their strength. So being French, you know we don’t complain any more! Right? We are not like ‘urgh!’ like the French, they do that so often.”

Benda Bilili’s message is universal as Barret explains.

[Renaud Barret, Co-director, Benda Bilili Movie]:
“And, it’s not a film about poverty, it’s not a movie about Africa, it’s not even a movie about disability. It’s just a movie about, eh, will power! Yeah...I would say that.”

Benda Bilili opens in UK cinemas on Friday 18th of March.