It effortlessly brings us in and causes us to care for the workers of this national park and their deep mission to preserve it at all costs. Virunga is about a park in the Congo, but the situation is similar in many African countries. "You must justify why you are on this earth. We watch some films for entertainment. This year, one such brave nominated documentary is "Virunga"--and once again, the folks who made this movie could have easily gotten killed to bring us this important story. Wow. The same is true of exploiting the minerals in the park. Metacritic Reviews. - André Bauma, Virunga National Park. SIA Share News. It seems hardly surprising in the case of M23, as they are a paramilitary organisation who can hardly be expected to be concerned with such things but it is the more legitimate big business SOCO who seem more worrying if anything. Their work mainly focused on caring for mountain gorillas, four of which were the only such animals held in captivity in the entire world. Director Orlando von Einsiedel initially chose to make a documentary about the valiant efforts of park rangers in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo to conserve natural resources. stuff usually goes. Many people live in extreme poverty, so poaching wild animals is not merely a good business deal, it may be the difference between starving and surviving. “Here is an example of African civil servants who are heroes, which you don’t often see,” von Einsiedel said. War is a terrible thing when in the face of such majesty. With this scene, Virunga is transformed into an adventure and even a combat zone story, even as it also becomes an undercover investigation into … Rodrigue Katembo has quite a resume: child soldier, park ranger, undercover agent, friend of gorillas and elephants. All of its excitement feels so perfectly timed and formed that it comes off as orchestrated. I am truly speechless. War breaks out frequently, violence is commonplace, corruption is rampant. Recommended 100% one of the best documentaries! Poachers, Parks, And Politics: 'Virunga' Is The Most Amazing Story On Netflix By Craig Hatkoff Published On 11/07/2014 External Reviews By Piya Sinha-Roy LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - British filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel did not expect a civil war to break out when he arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012 to profile Virunga National Park's plans for tourism and economic development. In between the clashes are the animals, mainly 800 or so endangered mountain Gorillaz. The film also follows French journalist Melanie Gouby, who goes undercover to record SOCO employees speaking of the company’s intentions. the film states that other countries in Africa were run by European Governments, but that Congo was the only one run by companies. We watch some films for the emotional effect. “In Virunga National Park, we had that process playing out on a micro level.”. It is the home to a plethora of wonderful animals and vegetation but as is so often the way, it has several serious problems that threaten it. We discover in fact that they have been involved in a bribery campaign, utilising M23 as enforcers. Virunga is a stunning film, part nature documentary, and part gritty exposé of the realities of life on the ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country that has been torn apart by conflict for thirty years. To do so they are fearlessly defying the greed driven manipulations of certain western corporates seeking enrichment by trying to control other people's resources. Virunga is a well intentioned documentary that will hopefully garner attention for the clashes occurring in the Congo. Very educational and really shows the conflicts in the region. The undercover footages are much more theatrical than shown in films since we know these are real and the kind of dialogues we hear in movies which we think as an exaggeration for dramatics seem to be much short of what the real villains are capable to churn out. NPR. Orlando von Einsiedel - 2014 - The vast Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is internationally renowned for its biodiversity. "Consider this: Only 880 Mountain Gorillas Remain in the World.". Gorillas justify why I am here. Courtesy Goldman International Prize. “Within a week, it was a full-on civil war. But that’s exactly what happened as he filmed his first feature-length documentary. News Its pretty intense and left me with goosebumps almost crying while watching it. I had postponed watching this documentary several times until I finally took the time to sit down and give it a go. Didn't take much long for them to introduce not one but two super villains - M23 and SOCO. Ex-Child Soldier Wins Goldman Environmental Prize For Protecting Virunga Park And Its Gorillas : Goats and Soda Rodrigue Katembo has quite a resume: child soldier, park ranger, undercover … Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The film was shot by a very brave group of people in what is a dangerous area. I assumed that being nominated for an Oscar would mean that it would be a compelling and absorbing documentary offering something new. “Virunga,” out on Netflix Inc’s online streaming platform on Friday and submitted for Oscar contention, draws a line between the interests of oil exploration company SOCO International Plc, civilian unrest in Eastern DRC, and a threatened local nature reserve that houses mountain gorillas. In fact he ran it entirely for his own financial benefit and this probably resulted in the death of 10 million Congolese (see 'King Leopold's Ghost' by Adam Hochschild). Soco International News Headlines. Imperfect documentary - but please let it help save the land and animals! Along with journalist Melanie Gouby, von Einsiedel's Virunga goes undercover to reveal the negligent motives of British oil company SOCO International. The Long Afterlife Of Our Work In Virunga. “There’s a famous phrase in Congo, that it’s the world’s richest country with the poorest people, with foreign forces taking stuff and the result being bad for Congolese people,” von Einsiedel said. Virunga lays out all that in an unflinching way. Created with Sketch. It has the passion and it is interesting, but it too often opts for the most sentimental choice and it comes off as utterly contrived. It showed how easily things go from bad to worse in that country and puts you right there in the thick of it. Local park warden Rodrigue Mugaruka also goes undercover to expose corruption, and park ranger Andre Bauma takes care of orphaned mountain gorillas. Then it moves onto something else, then something else, and more, and it keeps going until the connection between all these things feel all the more tenuous. An upsetting and exciting documentary with marked contrasts, What I thought this would be vs an uncomfortable and tense journey through age old human greed story, Beautiful and brave film spoilt by historical inaccuracies, The sadly never ending story of corporate greed and destruction, Difficult to watch but absolutely fascinating. A huge number of species live here, including the last mountain gorillas, but the preservation of nature in this area isn’t a priority for everyone. The film is more than just a film about those magnificent animals. On its website, the company says it is no longer operating in DRC and never intended to drill in the protected mountain gorilla habitat. Ruffalo attributed a renewed attention on environmental issues to people being more directly affected by severe weather in recent years. It's about how "we" cope with our resources but even more importantly how other people (e.g. Both M23 and SOCO invade the park in their own ways and neither seems very interested in the laws that have been set up to protect the flora and fauna that exist there, far less the people who live there. I wept during the film out of frustration but also out of an enormous respect for the film makers, rangers and everyone involved. British filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel did not expect a civil war to break out when he arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012 to profile Virunga National Park's plans for … By editor ... A mountain gorilla in Virunga National Park. A dramatic and compelling documentary about a national park, the pursuit of oil, civil war and the last wild mountain gorillas, Beautiful and hard-hitting documentary about the battle to save Africa's oldest National Park, Great Documentary highlighting an important cause, Pro-conservation park rangers battle an oil company and warring political factions in this excellent, disturbing documentary. The son of Protestant farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rodrigue Katembo dreamed of one day becoming a pastor. But we sort of persevered, and it took a long time. This starts out as a documentary about a group of rangers dedicating themselves to protecting the park and its mountain gorillas, but ends up becoming just as much a story about foreign oil exploration, local corruption, and armed conflict between the government and rebel groups. I've had the chance to speak with Orlando von Einsiedel afterwards and it's one of the conversations that will stay with me forever. the film goes on to state that Patrice Lumumba, Congo's democratically elected Prime Minister at Independence was killed by mining companies. Disappointing and a little uneven with its finger pointing. It is a documentary that everyone should see. The disasters that specifically loom are two different groups, the M23 and SOCO International. View Slideshow 3 of 3. The documentary does a great job of telling the various stories and building up suspense while showing us the beauty of the country. SOCO released a statement included in the film denying much of what was shown. Perhaps even more serious, many people have an economic incentive to plunder the national parks. King Leopold convinced the other European Powers to grant him the Congo which he would 'run for the benefit of its people'. This is also not true. Netflix seems to be reliably getting their documentaries nominated for Oscars as of late, and with its intriguing topic Virunga looked like a film with a lot of potential. To its credit, it is beautifully shot, though it often feels like an extract of Planet Earth rather than having its own identity. This is not correct. “Avengers” star Mark Ruffalo, who actively campaigns against hydraulic fracking and is vocal on water and conservation issues, has also put his weight behind the film. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays. the rangers) even give their lives to protect this. But Belgium’s Prince Emmanuel de Merode, director of Virunga National Park, is adamant that mining for oil will destroy the region’s rich nature and wildlife, and corruption would prevent locals from sharing in the profits. Why would anyone rate this under 10/10??! Finally, we watch some films because we should. I had to choose between several movies and I'll never going to regret one second the choice I've made. Its a very cinematic documentary with breathtakingly beautiful scenery of nature and wildlife combined with scenes of brutal violence and sadness. "In Virunga National Park, we had that process playing out on a micro level." And now, he is a Goldman Environmental Prize winner. This movie is gorgeously shot and wonderfully paced. I saw this movie at the Docville festival in Leuven, Belgium. LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - British filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel did not expect a civil war to break out when he arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012 to profile Virunga National Park’s plans for tourism and economic development. Extremely well made Netflix documentary, very instructive and of course offers a lot of beautiful scenery. The film also follows French journalist Melanie Gouby, who goes undercover to record SOCO employees speaking of the company's intentions. It starts off great, really passionate and gripping about the injustices in its titular location. Another film featured the filmmakers confronting folks who'd committed genocide decades ago and actually got them to talk about their hideous crimes. This ex-child soldier went undercover to save the gorillas. I lived in DRC for five years, but mainly stuck to Kinshasa. FAQ Published On 11/07/2014. He made himself unpopular with the American Govt with his approach to the Soviet Union for assistance. And it also makes it indisputable that what they are doing is right for such a beautiful park. Patrice Lumumba made himself unpopular with the Belgian Govt with his speech at the Independence ceremony. It is the first national park ever established on the continent of Africa, and it was designated a World Heritage site by the United Nations in 1979. By Craig Hatkoff . Thriller follows French Foreign Legionnaire who goes undercover for M16. ... 'Virunga' Director Orlando von Einsiedel on Why 'Avatar' Was a Huge Inspiration ... about undercover work. This a film festival with just documentaries. So I recently got Netflix and scrolling through the available features, I noticed the Oscar nominated Virunga, a documentary about Gorillas in Congo. We watch some films for an escape from reality. Editing by Eric Kelsey and David Gregorio. “We’re seeing this uptick in the severity of the storms, severity of droughts, severity of the temperature rising, so now it’s become tangible, it’s affecting people’s lives,” he said. It's one of those movies that should be compulsory at school education, ... and a movie everyone should have in their collection! Explore VIRUNGA COFFEE LAUNCHES! Virunga National Park in the Congo is a place of unique natural beauty. Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. The film has attracted star power, with actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio signing on as executive producer. They are my life." Gouby and Katembo’s undercover efforts to capture behind-the-scenes chicanery suddenly give Virunga the immediacy of an All the President’s Men-style investigative procedural, complete with jaw-dropping hidden-camera footage of officials being bribed and contempt for the Congolese masses being expressed by SOCO employees. This Ex-Child Soldier Went Undercover To Save The Gorillas . Last year, one film was made in the midst of a revolution and the filmmakers could have easily been killed filming the democracy movement. Rodrigue Katembo has quite a resume: child soldier, park ranger, undercover agent, friend of gorillas and elephants, and now Goldman Environmental Prize winner. All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. As a documentary, Virunga is interesting, eye-opening and concerning but not necessarily novel nor especially comprehensive. | And then I learned about the park’s very serious concerns about this illegal oil exploration, so the story U-turned really quickly.”. London-based SOCO International sent a team to DRC to convince locals that oil exploration would help the economy. Virunga does a good job of showing the grave difficulties facing conservationists in Africa. Financial News Articles for Sia.l updated throughout the day. One of the most incredible moving important documentaries I've ever seen, if you have Netflix and haven't watched this, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? But that's exactly what happened | The pictures of the Park are beautiful and the those of the gorillas are captivating. “Rarely do you see the whole lay of the land so clearly laid out, and so directly played out,” Ruffalo said. The term "Virunga" did sound familiar, but apart from that, I was oblivious to any plot details of this wonderfully shot, touching and at times surreal account of heroic personages trying to save the last mountain gorillas whilst preserving the environment they inhabit. These super villains made the poachers seem like two cent henchmen. This salient ant-war, anti-business exploration, pro-conservation documentary touched me and made me feel something special. “You have the overall sociological, economical and geo-political dynamics of the fossil fuel industry and how they create destabilization in a region for their own needs and gains.”. I loved this documentary. This is the story of sacrifices some brave people are making to protect our planet for future generations. No, stop watching that other show (again! They do not care about the cost in human lives, human development, or the destruction of other species like the mountain gorillas. I started to watch this thinking it's the heroes, park rangers vs the villains, poachers. When hostilities broke out between government forces and the M23 rebel group and a British mining company entered the park to drill for oil, Einsiedel broadened the scope of his documentary, transforming it into a feature-like, suspenseful thriller. Awards ), and put on Virunga dang it! But at 14, he was forced i Virunga, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is an especially beautiful and expansive park, with more than 3,000 square miles of beautiful forested land. Virunga is a feat in filmmaking because it works spectacularly on various levels. An immensely moving and thought provoking documentary about a subject that I would understand not many know about, Oscar nominated, Leonardo DiCaprio produced Virunga is a must see film for not only fans of documentary films but the general public and is an incredible examination of the human spirit and those dedicated to making the world a better place. This makes it pretty difficult to follow the story, although in a way the choppy pace is nicely symbolic of the real-life turbulence and instability that characterize the Eastern Congo. | That's the crux of Virunga, the direction lacks any form of restraint. The former are a violent rebel force who engages in an ongoing civil war with the Congolese government and the latter are a British energy company who specialise in oil exploration. | It's the location of human violence, corruption and exploitation. Virunga is one such film. What amazing lengths the filmmakers went to bring us this story. “I saw the story as a metaphor for the rebirth of the entire region,” he said. User Ratings Starting with an introduction to the history of turmoils in Congo this documentary tells the dramatic story of those who are trying to exploit and suck out everything from the country focusing on the Virunga National Park. Check out Red-Barracuda's 8/10 review of "Virunga" Oscars Best Picture Winners Best Picture Winners Golden Globes Emmys STARmeter Awards San Diego Comic-Con New York Comic-Con Sundance Film Festival Toronto Int'l Film Festival Awards Central Festival Central All Events A group of brave individuals risk their lives to save the last of the world's mountain gorillas; in the midst of renewed civil war and a scramble for Congo's natural resources. 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