Devastated by 20 years of violence, the eastern part of The Democratic Republic of Congo is often referred to as "the worst place in the world to be a woman." This film brings a different story from the region. City of Joy follows the first class of women at a revolutionary leadership center in Congo, weaving their journey with that of City of Joy's founders (2016 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr. Denis Mukwege, women's rights activist Christine Schuler-Deschryver, and radical feminist Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues) - three individuals who imagine a place where women who have suffered horrific rape and abuse can heal and become powerful voices of change for their country. A story about the profound resilience of the human spirit, CITY OF JOY witnesses Congolese women's fierce will to reclaim hope, even when so much of what was meaningful to them has been stripped away.

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Critic Reviews (3)

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Critic Score Distribution
Highest score:
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Average score:
  1. Positive: 3 Out of 3
  1. Mixed: 0 Out of 3
  1. Negative: 0 Out of 3
Critical Consensus: Good.


15 Feb 2017
"City of Joy is a monumental film about an oasis of security, wholeness and well being in the midst of an extreme conflict zone in the Democratic Republic of Congo." ...

Unseen Films

08 Nov 2016
"A visceral gut punch this is one of those rare treasures that will have you crying from sadness one minute and laughter the next." ...

The Panoptic

25 Sep 2017
"Madeleine Gavin’s City of Joy provides a sensitive insight into the plight of Congolese women today, without reducing their stories to the usual, easy-to-sell emotional porn." ...

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Release Date(s):

November 11, 2016 (DOC NYC, USA) (premiere)
April 3, 2017 (Cleveland International Film Festival, USA)
April 6, 2017 (Ashland Independent Film Festival, USA)
October 8, 2017 (Mill Valley Film Festival, USA)
October 20, 2017 (Tallgrass Film Festival, USA)

Executive Producer(s):

Dan Cogan, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Regina K. Scully, Amy Rao, Wendy Schmidt


Taylor Krauss, Lisa Rinzler


Madeleine Gavin


Madeleine Gavin


Tony Bensusan, Ryan M. Price


Tomandandy, Lokua Kanza

Original Score:

Tomandandy, Lokua Kanza

Production Company:

Essence Road, Impact Partners


Film Ignite


English, French, Swahili


75 minutes

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