The Current

'Elephant's Dream' captures daily life in war-torn Congo

Filmmaker Kristof Bilsen set out to show us the Congo we don't know in his new documentary, "Elephant's Dream." We hear about day-to-day life in the civil war-torn nation and the colonial baggage the Belgian filmmaker brought to the project along with his cameras.
'Elephant’s Dream' is a portrait or workers in DR Congo. Here is Henriette from the film, a female post office clerk in the dilapidated central post office, in Kinshasa. (© Associate Directors)

Year after year, the news that reaches us from the Democratic Repulic of Congo, or D.R.C., can be unrelentingly grim. These are stories of mass rapes and atrocities... the stuff of nightmares, perpetrated in the course of civil war.

But today the country is trying to move forward. Just last month, the government of the DRC asked the United Nations fo begin a withdrawl of peace-keeping troops, after their 16-year-long presence there. It's a step toward normalcy in the D.R.C. where everyday life has been disrupted for so long by the legacy of violence... the lack of resources and a crumbling infrastructure.

It's exactly that sort of everyday life that Belgian filmmaker Kristof Bilsen sought to capture when he travelled to the capital, Kinshassa, to follow the lives of three public servants there.

Kristof Bilsen's new film is called Elephant's Dream and its North American Premiere will be at Toronto's Hot Docs Festival next week. He joined us from Brussels. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Lara O'Brien.