La Vie Est Belle takes us inside the vibrant music scene of Kinshasha, Zaire’s exhilerating and exasperating capital of four million. Its back alleys and nightclubs pulsate to the beat of some of the most influential musicians in the world, and directors Ngangura Mweze and Benoit Lamy have brought it directly to the screen with their defiantly feel-good epic of charm and persistence.
The film stars Papa Wemba, one of the legendary figures of world music and employs together such Zairian archetypes as the charming trickster, the impotent husband, the neglected wife, the ingenue, and the diviner in a rags to riches story of a poor rural musician who finally gets his big break on television. This lively farce illustrates Zairians’ faith in Systeme-D or debrouillardise — the art of husting to survive. In Kinshasa, our hero uses his wit and talent to win a beautiful wife, trick his greedy boss and finally sing his theme song, “La Vie Est Belle,” on national television. The infectious spirit and affirmation of life in the face of seemingly overwhelming obstacles capture one of the most delightful aspects of contemporary African life.
1.27GB | 1 h 23 min | 706×470 | mkv