VirungaDirector: Orlando Von Einsiedel
United Kingdom, Congo | English, French, Swahili
Subtitles: Arabic, English
Eligible for Our World
It has all the trappings of an international thriller: soldiers upholding their mission at any cost, an attractive young journalist trying to root out corruption, a mysterious corporation with insidious intent, broken international laws, sting operations, hidden cameras, bribes, murder. And gorillas. But this isn’t fiction, it’s the real-life drama playing out in Virunga National Park, one of the most biodiverse places in the world. Virunga is home to some of the world’s most prized natural resources—oil, and raw minerals used to make consumer electronics—but it’s also home to tight-knit fishing villages and some of the last remaining mountain gorillas on Earth.
Orlando von Einsiedel tells the complex story of the forces working to save the park, and those looking to spoil it. He couldn’t have asked for better characters. There’s the Belgian park director viewed with suspicion because he’s a foreigner. The former child soldier who joined the park rangers to “protect the park to his last breath.' (And that’s no exaggeration: 130 rangers have died under fire from poachers and rebel militias.) Then there’s the intrepid French journalist using hidden cameras to capture the possible links between the militias and a British oil company whose representatives get a little too loose-lipped after a few drinks. Virunga does what the best documentaries should do: it opens our eyes, and then prompts us to act.