DER Documentary

Elephant's Dream

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by Kristof Bilsen
color, 74 min, 2014
in Lingala, French
with English, French, Dutch subtitles

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Elephant's Dream is a portrait of three state-owned institutions and their workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The interwoven stories of a female clerk in the dilapidated central post office, two colleagues at the railway station, and the group of firemen in the only fire station provide insight into their daily lives and survival in Kinshasa, the third largest city of Africa.

Although these three government-owned institutions are running on their last legs, the film allows for a surprisingly poetic and empathetic look at a state in decline. Yet, it also bears witness to small but powerful moments of change and revolution, while at the same time functioning as a mirror to what is happening in the Western world.

Elephant's Dream masterfully creates a dreamlike listlessness, sad and funny, that gently hints at great historical tragedy. A beautiful film.” — Joshua Oppenheimer, The Act of Killing, The Look of Silence
“One of the most tender and intense films I've seen in ages, a true film d'auteur.” — Hubert Sauper, Darwin's Nightmare, We Come as Friends
“Incredibly beautiful.” Indiewire
“Quite extraordinary” Hollywood Reporter
“Highly poetic, deeply insightful. ” Critics Associated
“★★★★ Eloquent, enigmatic” The Globe and Mail
Elephant's Dream feels urgent.” One Woman Army
“A striking meditation on finding resilience” Scene Creek

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Winner, Magic Hour Award, Docs Against Gravity, 2015
Winner, YLE Competition, DocPoint, Helsinki, 2015
Winner, Best International Doc, TRT Documentary Award, Istanbul, 2015
Taiwan International Documentary Festival, 2016
World Film Festival, Estonia, 2016
HotDocs, World Showcase, Toronto, 2015
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2015
Margaret Mead Film Festival (NY Premiere), 2015
Camden International Film Festival, in competition, 2015
DOK.fest Munich - in DOK Horizonte Competition, 2015
Freiburger Filmforum, 2015
Bertha DocHouse Filmmakers' Showcase, 2015
World Film Festival (Est), 2015
Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival (US), 2015
Cinema VeritÚ Iran International Documentary Film Festival, 2015
EthnoFilmFest, Muenchen (DE), 2015
Doc Lounge, Stockholm, 2015
Africa International Film Festival AFRIFF (Nigeria), 2015
Cork International Film Festival (Irish premiere), 2015
Congo in Harlem (NY), 2015
UnionDocs screening (Brooklyn, NY), 2015
ZIFF (Zimbabwe), 2015
Milano Filmfestival - State (T)error, 2015
Addis International Film Festival, 2015
DOK Leipzig - nominated Young Cinema Competition, 2014
IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), 2014
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TV Broadcasts
Flemish Television, VRT CANVAS, 2016
Turkish Television, TRT, 2016
Finnish Television, YLE, 2015
Belgian Television, RTBF, 2015

Related Resources
Filmmaker Site
Film Site

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Movement (R)evolution Africa

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts