Film Archive

Sections (Film Archive)

National Diploma

Documentary Film
DR Congo,
France
2014
92 minutes
subtitles: 
English
French

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Marie Balducchi
Dieudo Hamadi
Dieudo Hamadi
Rodolphe Molla
Dieudo Hamadi
Dieudo Hamadi
“Lord, give me a diploma!” are the not so silent prayers of Congolese high school students just before their final exams. Instead of the Mercedes Benz of Janis Joplin’s American version a graduation diploma is considered to be the key to happiness. Getting it, however, is nothing short of a miracle, because the school system is part of the institutionalised corruption: if you can’t pay the “teachers’ fee”, you’re expelled.
A group of students in Kisangani, however, refuse to put up with this any longer – among them Joël, who can’t scrape the necessary money together even though he works hard every day carrying crates on the market. They take the initiative and move into an empty house to prepare for the exams, self-organised and with the aid of “little tricks”. They have two months left, two months in which they will live, discuss, pray and sing together.
Dieudo Hamadi manages to be always at the centre of things with his camera and to show the group’s dynamics from inside. His tale of the fragile democracy in the Congo is told not with resignation but with a touch of utopia that makes real democratic participation seem possible – and with an explosive finale. You’ve never seen a real graduation party until you’ve seen this film, though he doesn’t conceal either that the students don’t escape the logic of the system after all.
Lars Meyer