British Board of Film Classification

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BENDA BILILI! <span>(2010)</span> artwork


Type Feature

Approx. Running minutes 86

Release dates 16/05/2011, 18/03/2011

BBFCInsight Contains moderate sex references and soft drug references

Genre(s) Documentary

Director(s) Renaud Barret,Florent de La Tullaye

Cast includes Cubain Kabeya, Maria Barli Djongo, Renaud Barret

Cut All known versions of this work passed uncut.

BBFCinsight publication date 08/03/2011

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

BENDA BILILI! is a documentary about a group of homeless paraplegics in Kinshasa who form a band that subsequently acquires a global following. The documentary was classified 'PG' for soft drug references, violence and language.

At 'PG' the BBFC's Guidelines state that 'References to illegal drugs or drug misuse must be innocuous or carry a suitable anti-drug message'. There are occasional scenes showing musicians smoking roll-up cigarettes which could be marijuana joints. However, these are never verbally identified as soft drugs, are not passed around as such, and the smokers do not clearly appear to be under the influence of drugs. Because there are no good grounds to believe that these are scenes of drug misuse, as opposed to smoking, the scenes are permissible at 'PG'.

There are also infrequent verbal references to soft drugs, such as a man referring to 'weed' as something to spend money on and a man in a hotel room asking "Is there any weed around?". In the former case, this is a throwaway and innocuous reference and, in the latter case, the man who asks the question is told ''You'll get in trouble. Smoking weed is serious here, they have smoke detectors". This negative reference comprises a suitable anti-drug message, particularly given the lack of clear detail of any drug misuse.

As for violence, the 'PG' Guidelines state that 'Moderate violence, without detail, may be allowed if justified by its context (for example, history, comedy or fantasy)'. There is one scene of violence which occurs when an able-bodied man kicks out at a smaller man who has been accused of stealing. However, the scene is dark, there is no detail, and only the sound of violent contact is heard.

There is also some mild language ('screw') which exceeds the type of 'very mild bad language' that would be permissible at 'U' but which is allowable at 'PG' where there may be 'mild bad language only'.

BENDA BILILI! also contains some scenes showing men smoking. There is no glamorisation or promotion of this lifestyle activity and no emphasis placed on it.

However, the documentary comes with additional material. Among this extra content are a small number of crude sex references, including two men fantasising about spending a night with a famous model with "her legs wrapped her neck". These references go beyond what is permissible under the 'PG' Guideline which allows 'mild sex references and innuendo only' but are permissible at '12A'/'12' where the relevant Guideline states 'sex references should not go beyond what is suitable for young teenagers'.

Parents can find additional information about the content of this film if they visit



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