Elephant´s Dream

After a lengthy and dev­as­tat­ing civil war in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of Congo (DRC), the cap­i­tal city of Kin­shasa is rebuild­ing. Through the eyes of three civic work­ers strug­gling to recon­struct the foun­da­tion of the city’s public ser­vices, we wit­ness a tale of nation­al transformation—at a snail’s pace. Driven by des­per­ate ambi­tion, postal worker Hen­ri­ette faces a system defined by stag­na­tion, even as she rises through its ranks. With ram­shackle equip­ment, a fire­fight­er is forced to watch as every­thing he helped build burns to the ground. Mean­while, opti­mistic rail­way worker Simon stands guard over an unused rail station—unsure of what he is pro­tect­ing. Their sto­ries allow direc­tor Kristof Bilsen to offer a rare look at the DRC, filled with poetry and absur­di­ty that is brim­ming with com­pas­sion­ate insight. Elephant’s Dream is a modern mas­ter­piece that is not to be missed. - Eli Hor­watt, Hotdocs


The film is a lesson in resilience, devo­tion. An ode to the invin­ci­ble obsti­na­cy, full of poetry reflect­ing the after-effects of Mubutism – show­ing how in a dis­as­trous­ly gov­erned, yet orga­nized chaos, one’s mental hygiene man­ages to pre­vail.” (Baloji)


While I was doing research in Oua­gadougou, Burk­i­na Faso, for a film about the rela­tion­ship between Africa and Europe, I became acquaint­ed with the young dress­mak­er Bintou. She spent a lot of time with white expats and dreamed of a career in Europe. The closer I got to Bintou, the more I under­stood about her family back­ground. She has a seven-year-old daugh­ter, Chris­tiane, born from a painful inci­dent in her past. Chris­tiane was raised at a children’s home, so Bintou could com­plete her appren­tice­ship. Bintou some­how man­aged to live her life and bal­ance her work, her dream of a career, and taking care of her child on week­ends – in everybody’s view, she was the sweet, young dress­mak­er, who was always happy, making non-expen­sive, lovely African clothes. I was fas­ci­nat­ed by Bintou and the way she man­aged her life. I wanted to tell others about her story, about the soci­ety in Burk­i­na Faso, and Bintou’s courage in deal­ing with all this. In spite of all the obsta­cles, she con­stant­ly works to achieve her dreams.” (Simone Cathe­ri­na Gaul)