a miserablist

youtube

‘Félicité’

Alain Gomis’ character study of a struggling single mother in Kinshasa evolves into something far more sensually complex than it initially seems.

Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans, goes the old saying — though for the variously stymied characters of “Félicité,” life hits them when they have no plan at all. A loose, vibrant fourth feature film from Franco-Senegalese director Alain Gomis, “Félicité” likewise builds to a fever of energy and activity while never sketching out more than the bones of a narrative: It’s a film in which a hard-earned smile, the contact between one person’s skin and another’s, or a serene strain of music amid the everyday noise can qualify as a dramatic event. Following a proudly independent club singer through the ragged streets of Kinshasa as she seeks a way to save her hospitalized son, Gomis’ latest is far from the miserablist issue drama that synopsis portends, instead weaving a sensual, sometimes hopeful, sometimes disturbing urban tapestry with threads of image, sound, poetry, and song. 

I’ve been referred to as a lot of things which are not quite accurate but they sound cool like ‘brooding miserablist’ and ‘reclusive genius.’ Funny things but I remember reading them and thinking ‘Oh, I sound awesome!’ This movie debunks all the myths of my personality, I guess. I kind of miss being thought of as this dark figure.
—  Matt Berninger on Mistaken for Strangers