Très, Très Fort (Very, Very Strong)

by
Abby Zimet

A surprise hit at the Cannes Film Festival has been the French
documentary Benda Bilili! - Congolese for "beyond appearances -
which profiles a band of middle-aged, homeless, paraplegic street musicians in
Mad-Max wheelchairs and two street kids playing homemade instruments in a
mix of traditional soukous, reggae and James Brown-esque funk. Their
mere survival on the chaotic streets of Kinshasa is marvel enough; their
success as a band is way cool.

"Nobody believed in us. Now they can see they
were wrong." - band leader Leon 'Ricky' Likabu, passing around a joint in a posh Oslo
hotel room. 

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