Virunga (2014) - Orlando Von Einsiedel
Lying in the forests of the eastern Congo sits Virunga National Park, one of the most biologically diverse areas left on the planet, and home to the last living mountain gorillas. In this enchanted land a battle is raging, with one side made up of a small group of park rangers, conservationists of the orphan gorillas, and a Belgian conservationist, who all protect the land from poachers, armed militia and the constant corporate interests which threaten to destroy the land ofr its rich natural resources. When a new threat emerges in the rebel group M23, the stability of this small region of the Congo is shaken once again. Orlando Von Einsiedel's Virunga is a fascinating and important documentary that explores this fragile region of land, capturing the greed and manipulation that threatens this fragile eco-system. Filmed in an intimate, muckraking type of style, Virunga plays less like a documentary about conservationism and more like an action thriller, with a surprising amount of tension and unease throughout its 100 minute running time. Virunga is a film that reveals a vast web of corruption and deceit around this national forest, revealing a fight over the soul of this land,with massive corporate greed and individual interests wanting to take over the land for their own selfish reasons. Virunga intimately follows the men and women who attempt to protect this land, with an ex-child soldier turned ranger, being one of the most compelling. Virunga is not a ground-breaking documentary by any means but it's a very solid film about an important issue, being gripping and emotionally intimate about its characters.
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