Docpoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival



Permeating the daily life of one of the great orchestras of the current generation, Rumba Rules proposes an incursion into the arcanes of a monumental African music. An essay on the meaning of self and rootedness, the film culminates in a kind of urban polyphony.

Ya Mayi, Lumumba, Xéna La Guerrière, Pitchou Travolta, Alfred Solo, Soleil Patron and many others: nearly thirty artists feed the creative life of the Brigade Sarbati Orchestra. By entering the group and the city of Kinshasa, the film gets into the rumba as if it were penetrating a rootstock. Through studio work, rehearsals and concerts, different portraits offer a foray into the dynamics and stories of this highly acclaimed Congolese music. From local roots to the patrons from the diaspora, the voices of Rumba Rules polyphony are past and present.

Production notes

Language: Lingala, French
Subtitles: English
Director: Sammy Baloji, David N. Bernatchez
Production Country: Democratic Republic of Congo, Canada
Year: 2020
Length (min): 107
Age limit: S
Cinematographer: Kiripi Katembo Siku, Sammy Baloji, David N. Bernatchez, Nelson Makengo
Editing: David N. Bernatchez
Sound Design: David N. Bernatchez, Dolet Malalu, Serge Makobo
Producer: Rosa Spaliviero, David N. Bernatchez
Production Company: Paysdenvie, Twenty Nine Studio & Production