‘Virunga,’ Film About Besieged African Park, Bids For Best Documentary Oscar

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — “They are my life,” a ranger in Central Africa says of endangered mountain gorillas in his care.

This bond of love infuses “Virunga,” an Oscar-contending documentary whose director describes it as a “David and Goliath” struggle pitting wildlife park rangers and other conservationists with few resources against poachers, armed groups and a company exploring for oil.

The film about Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site in eastern Congo, brings action and suspense to the nature genre. Its real-life cast includes Andre Bauma, an endearing ranger who tends orphan gorillas; chief warden Emmanuel de Merode, an urbane Belgian descended from nobility; and Melanie Gouby, a French freelance journalist who records shadowy figures on a hidden camera in scenes that make for tense viewing.

The dramatic events unfold in the visually rich landscape of Virunga, a jewel of biodiversity that has forests, swamps, savannah and active volcanoes, and is home to about a quarter of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas and to various armed groups.

“I probably could have filmed it on a mobile phone and people would have still said, ‘Oh, it looks beautiful,'” director Orlando von Einsiedel said in an interview with The Associated Press. And yet, he said —> Read More Here


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