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Kinshasa Symphony


List Price: $24.99
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Kinshasa Symphony + 60 Minutes - Joy in the Congo + The First Grader
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Product Details

  • Actors: Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste, Armand Diangienda
  • Directors: Claus Wischmann, Martin Baer
  • Format: Classical, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Korean, Russian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: C Major Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 15, 2011
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005OV1N4C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,447 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Two hundred orchestral musicians are playing Beethoven's Ninth 'Freude schoener
Goetterfunken'. A power cut strikes just a few bars before the last movement. Problems like this are the
least of the worries facing the only symphony orchestra in the Congo. In the 15 years of its existence, the
musicians have survived two putsches, various crises and a war. But concentration on the music and hopes
for a better future keeps them going. Kinshasa Symphony is a study of people in one of the world's most
chaotic cities doing their best to maintain one of the most complex systems of joint human endeavour: a
symphony orchestra. The film is about the Congo, the people in Kinshasa and the power of music.

Review

When we made it to Kinshasa with a crew of 7 people, we had no idea what was in store for us. The sounds of the orchestra left us all speechless and what was all the more moving were the individual stories behind those incredible faces. To see commitment at that level is not something that can be explained.


Of the 200 members of the orchestra and choir, only two have cars. Kinshasa, where the orchestra is based, is a huge city with a population of ten million. The musicians come from all over the city and for the most part travel on foot to get there - six days a week!


Armand's place serves as a makeshift conservatory and it feels like a mini-Juilliard in the heart of Africa. It's also an oasis from the trials and tribulations most of these musicians face on a daily basis. There is never a start time to rehearse because people trickle in throughout the day and they spend hours losing themselves in music. When we would wrap up a day of shooting by 9 or 10 p.m., there were still musicians working.


I hope that with this story, the orchestra will get what it deserves and frankly needs: a proper school in order for the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste to grow and show the world that there is more to the DRC than violence. These are good citizens, wanting to do the right thing and enjoy all the things that perhaps we take for granted in the West. One can't help but want the best for them. They are simply incredible. --60 Minutes, 'Joy in the Congo,' Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson

An amazing new documentary film is a must-see not just for music lovers, but for anyone who needs to see the nourishing power of the arts and human connections.

Kinshasa Symphony takes us into the everyday lives of the members of a most unlikely ensemble: the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste, located in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a place ravaged by war, endemic poverty and corruption.

The constant hassles and logistical problems these amateur musicians face should give serious pause to those of us leading far more privileged lives in music. They tackle big pieces like Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Orff's Carmina Burana out of sheer love, learning their instruments and craft as they go. --NPR, Deceptive Cadence, by ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS

'Kinshasa Symphony, a documentary film about the only symphony orchestra in central Africa, shows that the need for music and artistic expression transcends chaos and adversity Filmmakers Claus Wischmann and Martin Baer tell the inspirational story of the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste, a musical ensemble founded 15 years ago by self-trained conductor Armand Diangienda who named the group after his grandfather, Simon Kimbangu, a revered Congolese martyr who opposed the Belgian colonists The film depicts the discipline and enthusiasm of the orchestra's members, many of whom must struggle for survival on a daily basis in the harsh surroundings of Kinshasa, a city of eight million inhabitants who are among the poorest in the world.' --Robert Rowat, March 8, 2012

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Helena Mbele-Mbong on October 27, 2011
Format: DVD
Kinshasa Symphony is an amazing film about the challenges of building one of the most complex systems in human cooperation in one of the most chaotic cities in the world - a symphonic orchestra and choir in Kinshasa, DR Congo. It is about Kinshasa and the daily lives of its people, it is about making something work with very little, it is about the joys of rehearsing and performing Beethoven's Ninth and other classical music. Anyone who has ever played in an orchestra or sung in a choir, anyone who has ever been to Africa or is interested in Africa, anyone who has faced challenges with little on hand will greatly enjoy this movie.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dean R. Brierly on February 22, 2012
Format: DVD
This truly remarkable documentary about the Democratic Republic of the Congo's sole symphony orchestra powerfully depicts the collective challenges facing the 16-year-old organization of amateur, mostly self-taught musicians, including: internal and external wars, widespread sexual violence, poverty, disease and famine. The filmmakers balance this overall perspective with a sharp focus on a half-dozen individual musicians whose dedicated efforts to sustain and improve their artistry while struggling to make a living are representative of all 200 members. What the film does best, however, is capture the pure, transforming joy of creating music, no matter the circumstances or setting. To their credit, the filmmakers never preach or try to manipulate the viewer's emotions; they simply let the strength and resilience and ambition of the musicians speak for itself. Their collective story is heartbreaking, eye-opening, surreal, often funny and profoundly uplifting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Kat on September 14, 2012
Format: DVD
If you want a blessing this is it. If you want to learn gratitude for what you have this is your lesson. If you want to be amazed by passion and ingenuity and a sense of community come visit people who live and think outside the box and make music of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Manion on May 23, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating DVD, even though it is in French and subtitled in English. The French is from the interviews with members of the orchestra and the director, but the subtitles make it clear (?) what they are saying. It gives not only a beautiful picture of the music and musicians but also a view of the poverty and violence threat in the Congo.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eugene Mikijanic on August 9, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you haven't seen this, get it now - unbelievable event. For all music lovers, this is an underdog-succeeds story. Can't believe the hardships these folks go thru (daily travel time) in order to get to rehearsals, let alone final performance. Get it, watch it, over and over! Delivered on time, no play-back issues. Thanks!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Smith on December 31, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I teach middle school orchestra and have my 7th and 8th graders watch this movie. Subtitles are not ideal but my students always find this story very interesting. If you are abteacher I would preview as there are some adult topics discussed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By cobus van dyk on October 4, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Lovely, honest story of beautiful, unusual music and the midst of adverse conditions. Only criticism is that the sound was overdubbed in places which seems unnecessary due to the honest nature of the content.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Kameron on August 20, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
buy this DVD. This is one of the most remarkable stories you will ever see. I wept when I watched people with so little celebrate in the joy of the music
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