Thursday, June 12, 2008

'On the Rumba River '

On the Rumba River: a new French film on Congolese music and life on the world's second largest river, now a graveyard for abandoned barges and steamers.

Good review here. A snippet:

"The confrontation between environmental ugliness and sonic beauty is part of the point of Wendo's music, and eventually becomes a lynchpin of Sarasin's film as well. Immediately following the band's light, lively reunion show, Wendo - while dolefully gazing at a Congo river littered with decrepit, abandoned boats which symbolize the country's wholesale neglect - laments a country torn asunder by leaders and politicians more interested in enriching themselves than tending to their fellow citizens. It's a forceful juxtaposition of tight-knit community and unjust disregard, amplified by the absence of any superfluous or manipulative aesthetic embellishment. True, the director's refusal to provide basic details about some of his featured musicians, as well as the Congo's rocky past, can at times leave one wanting. But ultimately, On the Rumba River makes up for its lack of informational depth with stirring poignancy."

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