On the Rumba River

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Convening a band is trickier without Craigslist, as this African-music doc demonstrates. Wendo Kolosoy (a.k.a. Papa Wendo), a prominent Congolese musician and sometime pugilist, roams the hardscrabble Kinshasa region, recruiting associates for a festive jam session. The music, a relative of Cuban rumba, is buoyant and soulful, and it creates a poignant contrast with the dire surroundings. But director Jacques Sarasin’s refusal to supply more than scraps of context—either about the performers or the politics of the civil-war–torn region—renders the film narratively limp.

Release details

Rated: NR
Release date: Friday June 6 2008
Duration: 82 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jacques Sarasin