"Exhilarating...the movie is giving you process, execution and impact simultaneously.”
– Robert Able, The Los Angeles Times
"lovely, cogent, unsettling"
- Glenn Kenny
The New York Times
Genre: Documentary | Runtime: 95 min | Language: French with English Subtitles
Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is a vast, chaotic mega-city of 12 million. Water is privatized and the electric grid is capricious. Here, street artists’ performances are wildly creative, angry, irreverent, often shocking. With names like Kong Astronaute, Strombo, and Kill Bill, they masterfully repurpose urban detritus (computer parts, TV sets, bullet shells, machetes) and work with fire and paint, wax and blood — to critique government corruption, Western exploitation (their nation was literally once the private property of Belgium’s King Léopold II), and entrenched poverty. SYSTEM K reveals a vibrant, raw, politically astute world of performance art the likes of which exist nowhere else on earth.
“This eye-opening and eye-popping exposé tracks an emerging wave of Congolese creators whose vibrant, sometimes disturbing works are far more provocative than the kind of street art that now fetches millions at Christie’s or Sotheby’s. Immersive. Compelling. A full-blown nosedive into a unique moment of collective creation. [With] a lively score that includes music from… the group known as Kokoko!, whose instruments are made of used paint cans, scraps of wood, transistor radios, wire, and other detritus that’s been refurbished to produce beautiful sounds.”
– Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter