Facets Cinémathèque

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December 15–21, 2017

Chicago Theatrical


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Film still: Felicite Film still: Felicite Film still: Felicite
Grand Jury Prize
Berlin Intl
Film Fest
Special Jury Prize
Chicago Intl
Film Fest
Critics' Pick "[Filmmaker Alain] Gomis's cinematic style is spectacularly multifaceted"
  —New York Times
"Gomis...has a flair for merging focused character study and vibrant, sweeping mise-en-scène"
  —Los Angeles Times
4 stars "Surprising, unsentimental and vibrant... [with] a stellar debut from Beya, nuanced, complex and steadfast"
"The film's tonal range is formidable enough to suggest that this director may be a major talent who's now emerging from relative obscurity"
  —AV Club
"The movie is a virtual documentary of city sights and moods, and also a bitter exposé of a country without a social safety net"
  —New Yorker
"Félicité is both a rousing African musical and a scarifying portrait of one woman's indomitability"
  —Village Voice

Félicité follows a fiercely independent club singer and single mother who lives her life in the chaotically vibrant Congolese capital of Kinshasa with a proud defiance: she does not need marriage, a man, or even love to get by. But when her teenage son is in a horrific traffic accident, she must find a way to pay for his operation, which forces this resolutely solo woman to find help before it is too late. This quest sends her on a fast-paced journey through the streets of Kinshasa and eventually leads Félicité to trust in Tabu (Papi Mpaka), a man known more for his indulgences than his intimacies.

In her first film role, singer Véro Tshanda Beya brings a deep dignity to Félicité and in frame after frame resists simplistic qualifiers that might be applied to her character. By capturing Beya in intimate close-ups, Gomis offers a portrait of a life lived on the fringes of society that resonates with a profound poetry. Woven into the fabric of the film is a soundtrack performed by the Congolese musical collective Kasaï Allstars (with arrangements by Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste), creating the sensation of the music being a secondary script that transports us through Félicité's journey. (Toronto International Film Festival)

Directed by Alain Gomis, France/Senegal/Belgium/Germany/Lebanon, 2017, 123 mins. In Lingala and French with English subtitles.

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival, An Official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival, and will be this year's official entry for Senegal for Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards


  • Fri., Dec. 15 at 7 & 9:15 pm
  • Sat., Dec. 16 at 2:15, 4:45, 7 & 9:15 pm
  • Sun., Dec. 17 at 1, 3:15, 5:30 & 7:45 pm
  • Tues.–Thurs., Dec. 18–21 at 7 & 9:15 pm
Buy tickets


$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation