Arts Calendar

Sep 25

International Film Forum: EXAMEN D'ETAT

Second in the Tournees Festival of French films this Fall

Monday, September 25th, 2017
7:00 – 8:35 pm / Weitz Cinema

In the Congo, passing the national baccalaureate exam can save a young person from a life of manual labor and open the doors to university and a career. To fail the exam is to be fated to struggle for survival through menial work. As Congolese filmmaker Dieudo Hamadi’s documentary National Diploma so powerfully shows, the path to success in the national exam is full of challenges.

We see a school principal come into a prep classroom and summon those students who have not paid their fees to pay up now or leave. Those who stay aren’t much better off: the teachers are striking because they haven’t been paid. So an enterprising group of students rents a house to cram for the exam. Yet Hamadi’s fly-on-the-wall camera reveals study methods that are as surprising to Western eyes as they are endemic in the Congo: students visit marabouts for medicinal plants, get preachers to bless their pens or exorcize them, and, most importantly, pay recent graduates for cheat sheets.

Working in classic cinema vérité style, Hamadi follows the group of students through the exam to the nerve-wracking announcement of the results, providing an indelible portrait of the role of education in Congolese society.

Dieudo Hamadi

Sponsored by Arts at Carleton. Contact: Steven Richardson, x4389