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Benda Bilili!

  • Film
  • 2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

Busking on the ramshackle avenues of Kinshasa, Congo, the African band Staff Benda Bilili is just a group of street musicians "armed only with talent and optimism." Made up of middle-aged men---several of whom are paraplegic, all of whom live below the poverty level---and one underage guitar prodigy, Benda plays songs that speak of finding happiness despite your hardship. Charting these melodic survivors over a five-year period, this doc details its eventual ascension to world-music popularity---and aggressively refuses to let you forget just how inspirational its tale is. It may be petty to dismiss such a rags-to-much-better-rags story, but given how manipulatively constructed this music doc is, even in its rawest moments, you still leave feeling like you've been played.

Follow David Fear on Twitter: @davidlfear

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Written by David Fear
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