Elephant is a 1989 British drama film directed by Alan Clarke. The film is set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. The film's title comes from Bernard MacLaverty's description of the Troubles as "the elephant in our living room" — a reference to the collective denial of the underlying social problems of Northern Ireland. MacLaverty is a Northern Irish author and wrote the screenplay for "Elephant". Produced by BBC Northern Ireland, it first screened on BBC2 in 1989. The film was first conceived by Danny Boyle, who was working as a producer for BBC Northern Ireland at the time.
The film, which contains very little dialogue, depicts eighteen murders and is partly based on actual events drawn from police reports at the time. It is shot with 16mm film with much of it filmed using a steadicam and features a series of tracking shots, a technique the director used regularly. The grainy 16mm film, together with the lack of dialogue, plot, narrative and music give the film a cold, observational documentary feel. Nothing is learnt about any of the gunmen or victims. Each of the murders are carried out calmly and casually, in one scene the gunman is seen to drive away slowly, even