Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sean Kelly

Hot Docs 2015: Elephant's Dream


The stories of public service workers in the Congo are told in Elephant’s Dream.  Kinshasa, the capital city of the the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is in a state of rebuilding, following a lengthy civil war.  Elephant’s Dream follows post office worker Henriette, train station guard Simon, and the city’s only fire brigade as they adapt to these changing times.

One of the main goals of Elephant’s Dream is to provide a depiction of the DRC that is devoid of the stories of violence, rape, rebels and crime that are usually associated with the country.  However, at the same time, the film isn’t entirely that optimistic either.  Instead, the film shows the middle ground of life in the Congo, as public service workers adapt to the slow privatisation of the State-owned institutions they work at.  Of the three central subjects, it is Henriette at the post office who arguably gets the most attention.  She slowly moves up the ranks at the office, yet still has to contend with issues, such as not getting paid.  Also memorable is train station guard Simon and his friendship with colleague Nzai.

Elephant’s Dream uses an observational format to show these three intercutting stories, with little to no context.  In some ways, this is to the film’s detriment, since those unfamiliar with the history of the DRC might not fully grasp what the film is trying to say.  However, even without the proper context, Elephant’s Dream is still a somewhat interesting look at these public service workers, who are at a crossroads of their careers.  Despite a less than ideal environment, these individuals will refuse to give up, until they see the fruits of their perseverance.

★ ★ ★ 1/2 | FAIR 


  • Thu, Apr 30, 5:00 PM – Scotiabank Theatre 8
  • Sat, May 2, 7:00 PM – Scotiabank Theatre 10

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).