National Diploma

Examen d’état

An account of life for young students in the Democratic Republic of Congo who face challenges beyond the curriculum.

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  • Director Dieudo Hamadi
  • Producer Marie Balducchi
  • Screenwriter Dieudo Hamadi
  • France-Democratic Republic of Congo 2014
  • 92 mins
  • Production company AGAT Films & Cie

An accomplished fly on the wall documentary, Dieudo Hamadi’s film follows a group of Congolese high school students as they prepare for their National Diploma exam (the equivalent of A-levels), in Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo. Returning to his place of birth to chronicle the plight of these students, Hamadi also exposes corruption in the education system: teachers demand to be paid ‘bonuses’ from their students as they prepare for their final year exams. Those who have not paid are excluded from classes. Realising their parents cannot help, a group of students finds a communal space where they can gather together to revise. They also consult the church and local witchdoctors, encouraging each other to pray in the hope that this will help them pass their exams. With an eye for drawing out the smallest of details to add colour to his compassionate portrait of these people’s lives, Hamadi has created a fascinating documentary and is very much a director to watch.

Keith Shiri