VILLA MATATA BY RONNIE KABUIKA

Villa Matata by Ronnie Kabuika

Belgium's International African Film Festival

Director attends world premiere of the film 

It is at the world premiere at Belgium's International African Film Festival that we come across Villa Matata, the first full-length feature from multi-talented artist Ronnie Kabuika (producer, scriptwriter, editor, director of photography, and musician too). This extraordinary comedy, shot in just 14 days with a minimal budget, thrusts us directly amidst the misadventures of three cousins, Ali, Mohamed and Toto: party animals who are constantly broke, and not too smart, they are always looking for easy money to satisfy their taste for alcohol and women. Frustrated by the greed of their uncle and aunt, whom they live with, the three of them come up with a crazy plan: they will fake the death of one of the group, in order to extort money from the family - all in collusion with the evil pastor, Tshunga.

The making of the film was inspired by a challenge taken up by the director in 2009 during an international film-shoot in Kinshasa: a European technician having declared that he didn't see the Congolese as being able to produce and direct a full-length feature film within the next ten years without outside support, Kabuika wanted to prove this 'prophecy' wrong and direct the first 100% Congolese full-length feature. His strategy was clear: to make the best of what was available, without waiting years for possible subsidies; but above all to make a film first and foremost for the Congolese people, by developing the themes and genres of his own country's popular culture. This is why Villa Matata has such a strong connection with Maboke - filmed theatre, which is very popular with the Congolese - with its exaggerated characters, its theatrical mise-en-scène and its themes from everyday life. And if the insistence on certain gags, or the theatricality of the actors and the sets, can sometimes seems a bit hard to swallow and hinder the flow of the storyline, the film still offers some truly funny moments with wholly likeable characters; but above all, it offers an energy, a thirst for cinema which exudes throughout, and which is increasingly hard to find amidst the assuredness of western cinematography.

 

 

 

 

 

September 22, 2015
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