Nzoku ya Pembe

aka White Elephant

dir. Kristof Bilsen

Somebody passed by one day:  ‘Mama, does the Post really work? If I leave this letter with you, will it ever arrive?’
I told him: ‘of course it will’.  He started laughing. ‘I know for sure it will never reach its destination.’

The Central Post-Office  and its employees in Kinshasa, DR Congo.  This grandiose relic of the colonial past  has trapped its employees in a frozen timewarp  from which they are planning their escape. From past to present, through the cracks in the walls,  and leaks in the ceilings, we glimpse present-day Congo.

Director/Producer/Cinematographer: Kristof Bilsen
Editor: Eduardo Serrano
Sound Designer: George Lingford
Composer: Jon Wygens
Jon Wygens, Dizzy Mandjeku, Junior Mthombeni
Online-editor and Color Grader: Dillan Nicholls

(2011 / UK-Belgium / HD / 34’)

The film is supported by Pascal Decroos Fund (Belgium). A feature documentary based on this short,  is currently in production.

Festivals and Awards

Maysles Institute / Cinema (Harlem/NY) – “Congo in Harlem”
31th Jean Rouch International Film Festival (Paris/FR) – Winner Nanook/Jean Rouch Grand Prize
6th Addis International Film Festival (Ethiopia)
London International Documentary Festival (UK)
Thessaloniki Documentary Festival (Gr)
Cinema Novo (Bruges/BE)
Zomer Van Antwerpen (BE)

DocHouse screenings (London) – Riverside Studios & Hackney Picturehouse.
A section of the film will be re-scored live by the “Cabinet of Living Cinema” on the 18th of Oct on an evening “Making Tracks” at the RichMix near Shoreditch High Street.

Visions du Réel Doc Outlook Market
Raindance Film Festival (UK)
Margaret Mead Film Festival (NY)
Quadrangle Film Festival (Kent-UK)
In competition – IDFA 2011
In competition – Festival dei Popoli (IT)
Audience Award – Best Short Film – Festival de Dinard (FR)


“Visually stunning – beautifully shot, languid and composed.”
(Prof. Stella Bruzzi, Head of Jury IDFA 2011 Student Docs)

“It conveys the bizarre rituals of normality.”
(Christopher Hird, founding chair BRITDOC, trustee of Grierson Trust)

“As close to a poem as a film could be. Very clear, yet very enigmatic.”
(Olly Lambert, producer/director)

“Drôle et émouvant, sa maîtrise du cadre, des témoins et du rythme impressionne.”