Félicité 2.0 stars

Félicité movie poster

That it took ten minutes to realize that Félicité wasn’t a documentary was itself a miracle, as the camera wound sinuously through a sparsely populated dance floor in a tottering nightclub, picking up conversations that alternated between rape and romance. And the next 50 minutes — spent following the titular nightclub singer (Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu, superb in a physically demanding role) as she hits up friend and enemy alike for cash to pay for her son’s unexpected and urgent operation — had the making of a strong genre picture. Think High Noon set in Kinshasa and backed by a Congolese beat. A natural, unforced air surrounded the relationship of Félicité and Tabu (Papi Mpaka), the neighborhood handyman determined to improve her life. But instead of focusing on her strength, director and co-writer Alain Gomis strayed in the direction of a grayscale fantasy sequence that ran throughout the picture. Let’s call the hollow, unfulfilled arthouse dabbling that comprised the film’s second half regrettable at best. 2017.

Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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