In 2004, French film directors Florent de la Tullaye and Renaud Barret encountered this ragtag group of homeless and handicapped street musicians as they played their music on homemade instruments in the area around the Kinshasa Zoo and began documenting the band's struggles to survive, through music, in the volatile city. The result is an exuberant film that follows the band's journey from the streets to the world's stages, culminating in the 2009 release of their acclaimed album "Tres Tres Fort."
Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
"Benda Bilili!" is brutally real, a document of willpower that shows not only the magic of transcendence - which may be fleeting - but also the transformation of aspiring to it, every struggling step of the way.David DeWitt, New York Times, 09.29.2011
This unsentimental, smartly assembled film is equally attentive to the cacophony of African poverty and the balm of harmony provided by these pied pipers of hope.Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly, 09.29.2011
"Benda Bilili!" earns its exclamation point. It's a feel-good movie that actually makes you feel good, a story that will have you shaking your head in astonishment and moving your feet to some unstoppable rhythms.Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times, 10.06.2011
See the film to glimpse something of the band's awesome stage show.Ernest Hardy, Village Voice, 09.27.2011