Combustible Celluloid
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With: André Bauma, Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo, Emmanuel de Merode, Mélanie Gouby
Written by: Orlando von Einsiedel
Directed by: Orlando von Einsiedel
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: English, French, Swahili, with English subtitles
Running Time: 90
Date: 11/07/2014

Virunga (2014)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Gorilla Journalism

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Netflix's own feature documentary Virunga received an Oscar nomination, which will most likely pique the interests of many subscribers. And it is indeed compelling, moving beyond the usual talking heads of most documentaries and closer to the human condition. It's also a strong work of journalism, depicting the struggles of the Virunga National Park in Africa's Congo. The park is home to an endangered species of mountain gorilla, and animal lovers will want to save their best "awwws" for these huggable, docile creatures. But the park must also maintain its own militia, because it's also the home of many precious natural resources -- including a recently discovered oil deposit -- which makes it a constant target. The movie includes some shocking hidden camera footage of oilmen discussing their nefarious plans, as well as footage of real attacks. In real-life, park director Emmanuel de Merode was shot just before the film's premiere (he survived). Orlando von Einsiedel directed this powerful, must-see film.

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