Life is Rosy / La Vie Est Belle

Director: Benoît Lamy and Ngangura Mweze
Country: Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo) / Belgium / France
Year: 1987
Running Time: 85 min.
Language: French

la vie est belle1

La Vie Est Belle takes us inside the vibrant music scene of Kinshasha, Zaire’s exhilarating and exasperating capital of four million. Its back alleys and nightclubs pulsate to the beat of some of the most influential musicians in the world, and directors Ngangura Mweze and Benoît Lamy have brought it directly to the screen with their defiantly feel good epic of charm and persistence.

Kourou (played by the legendary Congolese musician, Papa Wemba) goes from his village to Kinshasa, his heart full of dreams of music and success. The capital city of Zaire is then the center of “World Music.” Once there, he falls in love with Kabibi, a virginal young woman who wants to be a secretary. Unfortunately Nvouandou, a club owner searching for a second wife, also wants to marry her. Will Nyouandou’s first wife turn out to be the best ally for young Kourou?

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About the Director

Benoît Lamy and Ngangura Mwezé

benoitlamyBiography: Benoît Lamy was born in Arlon, Belgium, in 1945 and graduated from I.A.D. in 1967. He was an intern on Pasolini’s Oedipus Rex in Italy in 1968. His first major film Home Sweet Home (La Fête à Jules – 1973) won a Diploma award at the 8th Moscow International Film Festival; it was also nominated for a Golden Prize award and received 14 international awards, from Montréal to Tehran. He founded his company Lamy Films in 1976. Some of the films his company produced include, Pierre Joassin’s Gros cœurs (1986), Mary Jimenez’s L’Air de rien (1989), Rosa Vergés’ Boom Boom (1990), and Férid Boughédir‘s Un été à la Goulette (1995). Serving as president of the Belgian producers association U.P.F.F. from 1988-91, Lamy has directed such films as Ham from the Ardennes (1977), Life Is Rosy (La vie est belle – 1987) and Wild Games (Combat de Fauves – 1997), which won a Golden Bayard award at the Namur International Festival of French-Speaking Film. Benoît Lamy passed away in Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium in April 2008.

mwezeBiography: Ngangura Mwezé was born in Bukavu, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) on 7 October 1950. At the age of twenty he won a scholarship to go to Belgium and study at the Institut des arts de diffusion, graduating in 1975. While a student he made two short films, Tamtam électronique (1973) and Rhythm and Blood (1975). Returning to Zaire in 1976 he became a lecturer at three colleges in Kinshasa: the National Institute of Arts (INA), Institute of Science and Information Technologies (ISTI) and Studio-School of the Voice of Zaire (SEVOZA). For ten years Ngangura Mwezé made TV documentaries in Zaire. He made his first documentary, Chéri-Samba, in 1980, a portrait of a popular young painter from Kinshasa. His next work Kin Kiesse ou les Joies douces-amères de Kinshasa-la-Belle (1982) documents the sweet and sour pleasures of Kinshasa la Belle. Kin Kiesse won prizes in Ouagadougou (FESPACO ’83), Hammamet (CIRTEF ’83), and was selected for INPUT ’86 in Montreal. In 1985, returning to Europe, Ngangura Mwezé worked on the scenario of Life Is Rosy (La vie est belle, released in 1987) with funding from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

– AFF, Inc.

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Life Is Rosy [La vie est belle] (1994);
Identity Pieces [Pièces d’identités] (2000 – Ngangura Mwezé).

Cartoon Circus (1972 – Benoît Lamy);
Home Sweet Home [La Fête à Jules] (1973 – Benoît Lamy);
Tamtam électronique (1973 – Ngangura Mwezé);
Rhythm and Blood (1975 – Ngangura Mwezé);
Ham from the Ardennes (1977 – Benoît Lamy);
Chéri-Samba (1980 – Ngangura Mwezé);
Kin Kiesse ou les Joies douces-amères de Kinshasa-la-Belle (1982 – Ngangura Mwezé);
Capitali culturali d’Europa – Ceci n’est pas Bruxelles (1983 – Benoît Lamy);
Life Is Rosy [La vie est belle] (1987);
Changa-Changa, Rythmes en noirs et blancs (1992 – Ngangura Mwezé);
Ouagadougou, portraits de dieux (1993 – Benoît Lamy);
Le Roi, la Vache et le Bananier, chronique d’un retour au Royaume de Ngweshe (1994 – Ngangura Mwezé);
Lettre à Makura : les derniers Bruxellois (1995 – Ngangura Mwezé);
Le Général Tombeur (1997 – Ngangura Mwezé);
Wild Games [Combat de fauves] (1997 – Benoît Lamy);
Identity Pieces [Pièces d’identités] (1998 – Ngangura Mwezé);
Au nom de mon père (2001 – Ngangura Mwezé);
The Governor’s New Clothes (2004 – Ngangura Mwezé);
Shégués, les enfants de la jungle urbaine (2008 – Ngangura Mwezé);
Cream and Punishment (2008 – Benoît Lamy);
Tu n’as rien vu à Kinshasa (2010 – Ngangura Mwezé).