It took me another three days to watch this movie—a little each day—just to build emotional fortitude. Virunga richly deserves its nomination, based on its premise, cinematography, and documentary standards. It introduces a country and individuals of beauty, integrity, and heart. It also builds a very real fear of what the influence of oil, the promise of money, and sell-out corruption will wreak on all of this. The thought of what harm may occur is heartbreaking, but it's not just "them". It's us. If Virunga goes, so goes the world.
Maybe by now you get the idea—this is not an easy movie to watch. As difficult as it was, it, fortunately, was not as wrenching as I had anticipated. It ends on a hopeful note, but it clearly conveys its message.
It is worth every moment it takes to watch (or that you spend working up the courage to watch it), every uncomfortable moment it makes you squirm or cry, and every decision it elicits that you can and will make a difference for Virunga, for the Congo, and for the world we all share.
Notes of interest:
- Executive producer: Leonardo DiCaprio
- At the January 31, 2015 screening of Virunga at the New York Museum of Art and Design, Bill Clinton made a surprise appearance.
- French investigative journalist, Melanie Gouby, figures prominently in the movie, even going undercover. Her website is here. She is fearless, kick-ass, skilled, and wicked smart.