Virunga (2014)

I can’t remember the last time I watched a documentary.  I might be when I actually watched TV on a TV instead of whichever streaming service.  Seeing as Virunga is a documentary nominated for an Oscar and the only one available to me because its a Netflix documentary, I decided give this one a watch.

Virunga (2014)


Director: Orlando von Einsiedel

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.- IMDB

There is absolutely no way to review a documentary.  How can I judge a real situation? Thats probably why I’ve never actually done one to date.  I sit here contemplating how I feel about Virunga.  For one, I know very little about war in Congo, and especially Virunga National Park.  If there’s anything this documentary made me feel, it was sadness and devastation.


Just looking at Eastern Congo, which is the main focus of this documentary and the Congolese military giving up to the rebels and the business, SOCO denying all connections to anything or even wanting to uproot a national park where not only animals sustain their living in conservation but how it would affect the people living there as well, and for what? Oil production? You can get money everywhere in the world but to deny that they were even being illegal, that just sickens me.  I guess it angers me even more because I’ve always worked in domains where money shows that ugly human nature hidden beneath the everyday smiles.


What is devastating are how the war affected so many and even as they try to rebuild, it breaking out again takes away innocent lives, not just human but affecting the natural habitat.  The focus here is on the close to extinction mountain gorillas, but really there is a lot of wildlife in Virunga.  When they recount the story of the mountain gorillas, I couldn’t help to cry a little because its so tragic.  The dangers that these gorillas face: poaching being one of the main ones.  The poachers killing the parents to sell the babies and if they are saved, they are still orphans and thats where Virunga comes in to help rehabilitate them. Virunga National Park’s existence is crucial to the growth of the area and yet, some people don’t understand it.


Orlando von Einsiedel has put together an amazing documentary with Virunga.  It brings up an extremely serious issue.  He shows how there are some people who are willing to risk their own lives to bravely believe in conserving nature and preventing the extinction of these mountain gorillas (and other animals).  While also successfully breaking our hearts to see the devastating situation they are in. I’m telling you, animal deaths murder me every time, orphaned animals break my heart and on top of that, the act of war simply destroys me. When that tank fired in the documentary, I seriously wanted to cry.

I’m not one to judge documentary but this one is a must-see. If its anything this documentary has reminded me, that the world has a lot of conflict going on and while this has let me shed some tears for what’s happening to the park, its also reminded me that there are so many places that need our help.

Have you seen Virunga?

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