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La Vie est belle, the timeless film that crosses generations

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

A poster for the film "Life Is Rosy" (1987).

A poster for the movie "La Vie est belle" (1987). | Credit: Lamy Films/Stephan Films/Sol'Œil Films/Véra Belmont/Mweze Ngangura/Benoît Lamy


“La Vie est belle” (Life Is Rosy), released in 1987, has remained a timeless masterpiece, resonating across generations with its enduring success. Directed by Mweze Ngangura and Benoît Lamy, this feature film has seen the participation of renowned artists such as Papa Wemba.

The story follows Papa Wemba, known as Kourou in the film, a young man with dreams of becoming a celebrated artist in his country. Leaving his village behind, he sets off for Kinshasa, the capital, to pursue his ambitious aspirations. In an enchanting moment, Kourou becomes infatuated with a schoolgirl named Kabibi during a ride with fellow villagers. His admiration for her leads to charming pursuits and flirtations.


Papa Wemba (Kourou) and Bibi Krubwa (Kabibi) during the shooting of the movie "La Vie est belle" in Kinshasa (1986). | Credit: Loïc Quentin/Lamy Films/Stephan Films/Sol'Œil Films/Véra Belmont/Mweze Ngangura/Benoît Lamy


Life in the outskirts of Kinshasa is depicted as bustling with talented musicians, such as Pepe Kalle. Amidst such creativity, Kourou strives to establish himself in the music scene while navigating the challenges of daily life. As fate unfolds, Kourou finds employment as a domestic worker for Nvouandou, who is also captivated by Kabibi's charm. Secretly, Papa Wemba manages to win the young lady's heart, causing her to reject Nvouandou's advances in favour of her affection for the valet.

Their love endures despite the opposition from their employer and societal obstacles. Ultimately, Kourou and Kabibi's relationship wins over the hearts of those who initially disapproved of their union. In a pivotal moment, Nvouandou, who sought Kabibi's hand in marriage, concedes defeat and supports Kourou after witnessing the captivating concert he delivers, replacing the ailing Pepe Kalle.


The cast of the movie "La Vie est belle" during the shooting in Kinshasa (1986). | Credit: Loïc Quentin/Lamy Films/Stephan Films/Sol'Œil Films/Véra Belmont/Mweze Ngangura/Benoît Lamy


Throughout his journey, Kourou dabbles in various trades, from painting (subjects like houses, etc.) to becoming a shoe cleaner. It is during this time that he invents the Franco-Lingala refrain: “Travaillez prenez de la peine, c’est le fond qui manque le moins, na beta libanga po ete na zwa mosolo, na motoki na yo nde ozwi lifuta”. This song becomes a poignant reference throughout the film.

“La Vie est belle” beautifully captures the essence of young life in Kinshasa, highlighting elements like sape (stylish dressing), music, and libanga (work). The film perfectly syncs with popular music of its time, featuring the exceptional talents of Papa Wemba, Klodye, Zaïko Langa Langa, and other greats of the era.




​Papa Wemba


Bibi Krubwa


Landu Nzunzimbu Matshia



as himself

Pepe Kalle

as himself

​Kanku Kasongo


​Lonkinda Mengi

​Feza Nzazi

​Kalimazi Lombume


​Mazaza Mukoko

​Mama Dingari

​Inabanza Mujinga Mbuji

​Chérie Bondowe

​Bwanando Ngimbi

​Maître Nganga


Henock Kalala - (LEBEAUZAÏRE)



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