Virunga Asks Us to REACT to Our Similarities Rather Than Our Differences
If you’ve had any access to media outlets in recent years, it would have been nearly impossible to ignore the environmental issues plaguing the United States. There’s a general awareness of the current threat to our planet, but other than the amount of money it takes to fill our gas tanks, the potential dangers tend to feel far removed from our own experience.
Orlando von Einsedel’s Virunga acts as a frightfully clear window into the realities of our world, bridging the gap between an ambivalent audience and the war for the Congo. The film does a stellar job reminding viewers of the interconnectedness of our planet, and will inspire them to acknowledge and perhaps act upon the troubling issues affecting our planet and its inhabitants. Virunga’s sweeping landscape shots of the vividly green jungle, it’s solemn and respectful funeral procession for a beloved mountain gorilla, and the bravery of Virunga’s park rangers crafts a narrative seemingly too dramatic to be true. Einsedel cleverly juxtaposes a solemn funeral procession for a fallen gorilla with the lively faces of those primates in need of further protection and care. The park houses “about a quarter of the world’s critically endangered gorillas,” including two other Great Ape species, Virunga is “the only park in the world to host three taxa of Great Apes.”
Like Virunga’s park rangers, the caretakers of the gorilla sanctuary are especially brave and dedicated to their calling, caring and sacrificing for these animals as if they were their own children. Virunga asks us to react to our similarities rather than our differences. When we see the title of “park ranger” become “soldier,” we must reflect upon our understanding of just how important the preservation of our wilderness remains. Despite the banality of rangers in our U.S. park systems, the mission remains universal, and our environments continue to remain at risk from those who would exploit them. Beyond the visceral journey into the jungle itself, the lives of the animals and the people, Virunga tackles the very entities that would actively act against the interests of the park, the animals, and the rangers. Through the eyes of an ambitious young journalist, viewers will traverse the tricky web of a conspiracy that places Virunga in the crosshairs of every possible enemy. In the wake of the passion that Virunga will undoubtedly evoke, REACT to FILM has developed a number of easy “Action Steps” that anyone can follow:
DONATE or raise funds for the Virunga National Park to keep it in operation and to support its brave rangers.
CHECK YOUR INVESTMENTS as you may be surprised to find out your investments could be funding SOCO International. Ensure that your dollars are funding positive initiatives. (REACT to FILM)
While Virunga represents a complex, large-scale issue, seemingly insurmountable to those watching from the safety of their homes, the film wasn’t made so that the issue could be swept aside. As a person living on this planet, even the smallest of actions (like those listed above) can have some kind of impact upon Virunga, its animals, and the park rangers risking their lives for not only the safety of their loved ones, but for the preservation of our wildlife and land. Virunga’s portrayal of human corruption and violence is an undeniable presence and threat to the park and its inhabitants, but Einsedel does not allow that overwhelming negativity to cloud the truly great accomplishments of the journalists, caretakers, and park rangers that continue to act against the sinister forces who would place the wellbeing of the entire planet in jeopardy.
REACT to FILM colleges will be screening Virunga nationally this February. Check out our list of colleges to find a REACT to FILM campus near you!