Elephant's Dream

  • Elephant's Dream
Genre : Social
Type : Documentary
Original title :
Principal country concerned : Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 2014
Format : Feature
Running time : 72 (in minutes)

A poetic portrait of people working in the state-run post office, rail station and fire headquarters in the 3rd largest city of Africa, Kinshasa (DRC).

Elephant's Dream tells the story of a group of public sector workers who live in the third largest city in Africa, Kinshasa, DR Congo, where the weight of history has not stopped them from pursuing their hopes and dreams. The film takes us beyond the usual reports of the Congo, providing poetic and compassionate insight into a country in transition, as seen through the microcosm of three state-owned institutions: a rail station, the central post office and the only existing fire station in Kinshasa. At times surreal, at times hopeful, this film reveals a surprising perspective on lives lived beyond chaos.

Dir. Kristof Bilsen

DR Congo/Belgium, 2014, Doc., 74 min. Lingala & French w/ English subtitles

"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."

"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

"Elephant's Dream" masterfully creates a dreamlike listlessness, sad and funny, that gently hints at great historical tragedy. A beautiful film.
- Joshua Oppenheimer -
Act of Killing / The Look of Silence

Buy the DVD
(with English/French/Dutch subtitles)


Upcoming festivals & screenings
EthnoFilmFest Muenchen
Cinema Verité Iran International Documentary Film Festival

Past screenings

Doc Lounge Stockholm
Bristol University - Human Geography Seminar
Africa International Film Festival AFRIFF (Nigeria)
Cork International Film Festival (Irish premiere)
Margaret Mead Film Festival (NY Premiere)
Congo in Harlem (NY)
UnionDocs screening (Brooklyn, NY)
Inconvenient Films Human Rights Fest Vilnius (Lit)
Festival International Ânûû-rû Âboro (New Caledonia)
ZIFF (Zimbabwe)
Milano Filmfestival - State (T)error
Filmfestival Ostend(BE)
Camden International Film Festival -in competition
DOKUFest Prizren (Kosovo) - in competition
East End Film Festival - UK Premiere
Addis International Film Festival
Freiburger Filmforum
Festival International de Documentaire de La Salle en Cévennes
TRT Documentary Award (Istanbul) - WINNER International Doc
DOK.fest Munich - in DOK Horizonte Competition
Docs Against Gravity - WINNER Magic Hour Award
Docville Leuven - in competition
Afrika Film Festival Leuven
HotDocs Toronto - World Showcase
Frontline Club London (Sneak Preview)
DocPoint Helsinki -WINNER YLE Competition

IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam) - DP
DOK Leipzig - nominated Young Cinema Competition - WP



Elephant's Dream is een portret van drie overheidsinstellingen en hun werknemers in DR Congo. De in elkaar verweven verhalen van een vrouwelijke postbeambte in een vervallen postkantoor, twee collega's op een verlaten treinstation en een groep brandweermannen in de enige brandweerkazerne, geven inzicht in hun dagelijkse (over)leven in de derde grootste stad van Afrika, Kinshasa.

Hoewel deze drie overheidsinstellingen op hun laatste benen lopen, zorgt de film voor een verrassend poëtische en empathische kijk op een staat in verval. Toch maakt de film ons ook getuige van de kleine, maar duidelijke tekenen van verandering en revolutie. Het is tegelijkertijd een spiegel voor wat er gebeurt in het Westen.

Scenario, Regie, DOP / Script, Direction, DOP
Kristof Bilsen

Executive production / Uitvoerend producent
Bram Crols & Mark Daems

Marion Hänsel, Mike Lerner, Kristof Bilsen

Editing / Montage
Eduardo Serrano

Sound Recording / Geluidsopname
Xan Marquez Canéda

Sound design & mixing
Yves De Mey

Composer & Music Supervision / Originele muziek
Jon Wygens

Duration / Duur
74' theatrical + 52' television version

Original language / Originele taal
Lingala & Frans / Lingala & French

Available subtitled versions / Beschikbare ondertitels
English -­ French / Français -­ Dutch / Nederlands

Distribution format / Vertoningsformaat
DCP - HDcam - Blu-ray

web design & web development

a production of
Associate Directors, co-produced by Roast Beef productions, Man's Films and Limerick Films.

in co-production with / in co-production met
RTBF - Unité de programmes documentaires

with the support of / en met de steun van
Flanders Audiovisual Fund / Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds
The Media programme of the European Union
CBA Worldview

with the cooperation of / met de medewerking van
National Film and Television School (NFTS)


International sales
CAT & Docs
8, rue Quincampoix
75004 Paris
+33 144 617 748

press - sales / pers - distributie
Associate Directors
Helmstraat 139a
2140 Antwerpen (Belgium)
+32 3 236 66 63


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  • Arterial network
  • Media, Sports and Entertainment Group (MSE)
  • Gens de la Caraïbe
  • Groupe 30 Afrique
  • Alliance Française VANUATU
  • Zimbabwe : Culture Fund Of Zimbabwe Trust
  • RDC : Groupe TACCEMS
  • Rwanda : Positive Production
  • Togo : Kadam Kadam
  • Niger : ONG Culture Art Humanité
  • Collectif 2004 Images
  • Africultures Burkina-Faso
  • Bénincultures / Editions Plurielles
  • Africiné
  • Afrilivres

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