Kristof Bilsen: Elephant’s Dream

Is it wrong to characterize a film as lovely? Well, the young woman on the still photo is wonderful to be with, and she has been made lovely through the approach of a director, who dares to leave the main road, when it comes to a documentary from and about Congo. To give the viewer an insight to what some citizens, actually they are all civil servants, think about their jobs, primarily, and the future of their tormented country. It is fun to watch and warm in atmosphere, and reaches the audience brilliantly even if it raises some narrative problems that the director has chosen to bring comments and thoughts forward as voice-offs, stopping the flow sometimes. But by this choice he has made it possible to work with great tableau-like, composed images that you remember so well. Henriette on the still photo is waiting for the post system to be modernised, equally Simon from the railway station sits and waits as does his colleague from the fire brigade. Waiting for something to happen. It does for Henriette, things are moving, and she is the one, we follow to a religious meeting and to her home.

Bilsen showed his film at DOKLeipzig and at idfa this year and a premiere is now to happen in Belgium. He demonstrates an obvious talent for catching situations, create his own tone and visuals, and has a feeling for a montage, where you go from the noisy streets of Kinshasa to the quiet public service venues where something is to happen. Lovely!

Belgium, England, 2014, 72 mins.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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