I love documentaries.
I find it fascinating to see different subjects that I never heard on the news, and I always learn a lot from good documentaries. Virunga fits particularly in this category. When I first heard about Virunga was on KPCC, and the famous host Larry Mantle introduced, “We welcome Orlando von Einsiedel, the director of the Oscar-nominee documentary Virunga.” I went back home, and I searched on Netflix. Voila! There it is ! It is in the new arrival! I quickly clicked played without knowing what to expect.
It is about Virunga National Park which is in Democratic Republic of Congo. Why is this Nation Park so important? The significance of this park is that it is one of the last home of the mountain gorillas. The last estimation of mountain gorillas shows that there are only 880 left in this world. People are illegally hunting elephants for their ivory and the mountain gorillas for their babies. The rangers who work for Virunga National Park dedicated their live to this place, and there are so many have dicd from protecting it. The documentary focus on the park rangers, park director Prince Emmanuel de Merode, the people who take care of animals, M23 conflict, French journalist Melanie Gouby, and the most importantly, the oil exploitation from a British Company called SOCO International.
I feel like this documentary is trying to inform us so much information, but they have so little time to put them in a two hours documentary. There are few things I just love about this documentary. First, the shots and scenes of the biological environment in Virunga. The eyes of the mountain gorillas, the leafs, the trees, and the landscape. When I look at that on screen, I am just amazed by how beautiful nature can be. I just hope I can see that in person.
Second, I am just speechless about the bravery of the park rangers and especially the park director Emmanuel de Merode. I did a little research, and I found out Emmanuel de Merode is a prince originally from one of the oldest noble families from Belgium.(He is a real prince!!!!!) He earned a PhD in Anthropology, and his main focus since 2008 is on the reservation of Virunga National Park. He is one truly amazing human being.
I also want to mention how amazing the French journalist Melaine Gouby is. She puts on peephole camera to investigate the British company SOCO International, and she also meet with M23 speaker (rebels in Congo) about their intention and business with the oil exploration. It was a dangerous job, but Melaine was brave enough to do everything on her own.
Virunga is definitely a persuasive documentary film, because it brings awareness to the viewers and it also mention stop anything that has to do with the SOCO International. At the end of the day, I just strongly recommend this documentary. It is powerful, and it sends us a strong message. There is only one Mother Earth, and if we don’t protect it. Who will ?
Extended reading and videos:
Official Virugna National Park website
Emmanuel De Merode on TED talk: A Story of Conflict Renewal & Hope:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhnGzaEOE34
Virunga Film official website: