category Focus: Africa


Lingala, French


Romanian, English


Examen d'état


In his native city of Kisangani, filmmaker Dieudo Hamadi followed for over one year the complicated trajectory of a group of ambitious high-schoolers working towards their national diploma – the Congolese equivalent of the French Baccalaureate. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, this diploma can make the difference between a real chance in life and a future mired in menial or manual labor. From the kids being kicked out of school for their failure to pay dubious “bonuses” to teachers to the suspenseful and emotional finale, the camera follows the youngsters through a series of cultural and institutional obstacles to education: corruption, poverty, superstitions, cheating, and simple, generalized incompetence. Filled with humor, melancholy, and even nostalgia for a time in all of our lives when everything seemed possible, Dieudo Hamadi’s documentary works as an allegory for a society which is kept from drowning in corruption solely by its creativity and buoyant optimism. This documentary which is simultaneously intimate and political allows us to see from the inside the full complexity and humanity of a story which, in an outsider’s hands, could have been no more than just another inspirational African caricature.

The documentary has been "adopted" by Teach for Romania.

Interview with the director. Q&A after the screening.


2014 - Cinéma du Réel, France, Potemkine Award and SCAM Award

2014 - Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur, Belgium, Special Jury Prize

2014 - Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal, Canada, Special Mention and Women Inmates Award

2014 - Taiwan International Documentary Film Festival, Taiwan, Special Mention

2014 - Carthage Film Festival, Tunisia, Tanit d'argent

2014 - Abu Dhabi Film Festival, United Arab Emirates

2014 - Toronto International Film Festival, Canada