Review: Virunga


Mining, murder, and mountain gorillas: Virunga National Park

By LuAnne Cadd (LuAnne Cadd) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By LuAnne Cadd (LuAnne Cadd) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

In 2012, the documentary team set to cover development and tourism in Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 3 weeks later, rebellion group M23, a break-off of the Congolese army, began trouble in the region. Soon thereafter, the focus of the film was quickly shifted…

In the park’s jungle centre, sits the last remaining population of critically endangered mountain gorillas, visited by tourists, rangers, and famously David Attenborough in his 20’s. Where the park meets civilisation, sits André Bauma, caring for a captive population of orphaned gorillas.

We’re between the hammer and the anvil

With a history steeped in complex socio-economic and political conflict, Virunga National Park sits at the crux of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Google Maps

Google Maps

In 2007, people began to hunt in Virunga, in a bid to relieve the park of its prize gorillas, render it worthless, and leave it subject to resource exploitation and international investment.

130 rangers have died protecting this forest fragment

By (WT-shared) Cai at wts wikivoyage (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By (WT-shared) Cai at wts wikivoyage (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In 2012, Soco International, a UK based oil company, began its investment in Virunga, to heighten the fight for resources in this delicate region. The film proceeds to document stories of war, corruption, and loss of life, in a critical period for the communities living amongst the conflict.

Yet a documentation from start to finish was carefully crafted by the film team, alongside french journalist Mélanie Gouby. They eventually made it to cinema, with this heart wrenching, visually stunning, oscar-nominated docu-film about the Virunga crisis. The saga continues…

This country is sold

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