I will admit, I am largely clueless about te situation in Congo. I'm far more knowlegeable about the history of the nation, and particularly the interactions of the Belgian Monarchy in the region that the current situation. Such is my weakness, current world events. This is often true of historians. And Americans, I should add.
Animal Park deals with a particular situation in Congo, that of the Virunga National Park.
The nation has been in a continual state of civil war, and the rangers of the park see the only way to preserve it, and to draw tourists, is to excercize incredibly strict controlls. The rangers act as a paramilitary force, engaging in activities such as rape, and beheadings. The pain of those who live within the area of the park is obvious, an interview with a woman whose husband was beheaded and marched through the street of their village is touching and painful. The doc presents facts, interviews, including one with one of the rangers of the park, and it gives us a cleanly pointed message. The cinematography is phenomenal, and the editing is smarter than almost any doc of this kind I've seen in recent years.
The best part for me is that it is a piece about something I do not know anything about, that I don't really understand, and it ends by asking questions that made me question my assumptions. Defending nature is always good, but does that defense require lethal force? Is conservation and the establishment of these kind of natural preserves a new kind of colonialism? Is Congo stable enough to deal with this idea of preserving the park without resorting to martial law? What is the rest of the world's responsibility in the matter? These are the hard questions, but they must be asked, and this doc does so, and beautifully, in a mere 8 minutes.
www.officenumberfour.com/our-sky-our-land/animal-park/ has a trailer and details
Klaus at Gunpoint
A Film Journal dedicated to all film.A segment of Office Supply Publishing.