Virunga: DiCaprio’s Oscar-Nominated Environmental Documentary

A timely call for active environmentalism, Virunga is a realistic documentary that unfolds as a suspenseful  and violent dramatic feature.

This urgent documentary from Orlando von Einsiedel, follows a terrorized part of the Congo, where violent militants clash, companies seek resources and conservationists try to save the endangered habitat.

It is the only area in the world where mountain gorillas can still be found.  At the center is a group of activists committed to protect this plagued region, Africa’s oldest and diverse National Park, Virunga from greedy poachers.

In a sanctuary for these animals, the director introduces Andrea Bauma, a loving caretaker.  We also meet a Belgian conservationist tasked with leading the protection of the area from poachers and other threats. Giving a speech to his dedicated, underfunded group, he knows that regional turmoil means danger.

The docu gets livelier with the appearance of a French journalist, Melanie Gouby, who has come to investigate the aggressive interests of the British oil company SOCO. They represent the villainous face of one threat to the safety of the indigenous plants and animals.

Carrying with her a hidden camera, Gouby tracks their history and statements by posing as a date in order to get info from an employee.  Gouby’s appearance on camera for this film means she has been revealed and has put herself in danger.

These earnest activists and innocent animals are facing off against  power, greed and violence. The threat is palpable : Von Einsiedel depicts a region where armed militias are patrolling, gunfire and bombs are going off, and people are running for their lives.