Virunga (2014) Movie Script

Protect us, and help us to account
for each day of our lives.
Oh, Congo.
Our dear Ranger Kasereka died
trying to rebuild this country.
Charlie 5 says that
the enemy is moving your way.
If you listen carefully,
they're shooting to show their presence.
This is an illegal settlement.
Some rebels.
Where are the people who were with you?
I don't know.
Quiet! Keep your voice down.
I don't know.
So where are they?
They've gone away.
Isn't this poaching?
It wasn't me.
The one who ran away
is the one who killed it.
Just as I'd finished primary school,
we were recruited secretly in our town.
They told us, "You're leaving...
We're sending you to university.
To the best university in the world!"
You have to follow
all orders given to you.
If you attempt to escape,
they'll kill you.
My little brother Dona
was 15 years old.
Among many dead bodies I found his.
There was nothing I could do.
After we buried him,
we went on with the war.
But my mother insisted,
"You must leave the army
while you're still alive."
So I then escaped the army
to dedicate my life to the National Park.
They are the only mountain gorillas
in captivity in the world.
Ndakasi likes to play so much.
I have my human family.
I always tell them,
"You are my family...
but we have another family
in Rumangabo...
which is made up of four children."
There is Maisha, Kaboko,
Ndeze and Ndakasi.
You know that until now
we've had a big problem with poaching.
Poachers believe...
they can kill the parents
and take the baby away for sale.
This is the way we got Maisha.
Maisha was taken from poachers
who wanted to sell her.
She was rescued
when she was three years old.
Today, she is about
10 years and six months.
Kaboko is the one-handed male.
He lost the other hand
because of poaching.
Kaboko is a bit aggressive.
But they have
great affection for each other.
It is love.
When there was
the massacre of our gorillas,
I was out in the field.
I was among the rangers
who discovered their bodies.
It was a great tragedy.
We had a total of
nine gorillas killed.
The logic was that
once the gorillas were killed,
there would be no reason
to protect the park anymore.
Many people came to see
what had happened to the gorillas.
They helped to transport their bodies.
It was like
members of the family had died.
KILLED JULY 22, 2007
Ndeze and Ndakasi are the two gorillas
that survived from that family.
Their mother and the rest
were killed in 2007.
When I met her...
she was really
so weak, weak, weak!
It's truly an unbelievable thing...
to see that she is alive,
and this is the reason why I say,
"I am not only a father..."
You know that these gorillas
as you see them here,
we're not keeping them
just for the sake of keeping them.
We take care of them in order
to one day release them
back into the forest in good health.
The vowel "E."
Yes, good. Carry on.
This one, which vowel is it?
Underneath the vowel "E,"
which vowel is it?
I may die at any time in an ambush by
people against the protection of the park.
Rangers commit to protect the park,
under very dangerous conditions
to their last breath.
130 rangers have died protecting Virunga.
I may die...
though I don't know when.
Our child is called Josue.
He is a small child
in whom I see lots of hope.
I think he can become a scientist.
After he has studied...
You said he needs
to study mathematics.
He can be like me for example,
you know I am a biologist.
Since you're a biologist,
he shouldn't become one, too.
He can be a geologist.
Yes, but it's still
in the sciences.
Change is good!
We don't want
people of his generation
to inherit a world or a country
as broken as ours.
The Provincial Director of
Virunga National Park.
Good morning, everyone.
I was anxious to drop by the station
at morning roll-call.
Firstly, to greet you...
but also because you will all have heard
about the new troubles for the army.
We all hope it is a temporary situation
that will be sorted out.
The army will manage the situation
and activities will continue normally.
It's important to hope for the best,
but also be ready for the worst.
It's far, right?
I was appointed Station Chief in June 2006
by the Kinshasa office
to assume management of
Virunga's central sector.
We are at the heart of
the Rwindi Hotel here...
it is here that
the late President Mobutu Sese Seko's
distinguished guests stayed,
and that is where the President himself
spent the night whenever he came here.
War has ruined everything.
When I see it destroyed like this,
I am deeply unhappy.
When we started managing this sector
in May 2010,
there was almost nothing
because there were soldiers everywhere.
However, now there are antelopes,
warthogs, elephants, lions,
and a significant number of hippos.
So there is hope,
and even buffalos are coming back.
We are sure that in the next five years
the animal population
will re-establish itself as before.
You know that the gorillas we have here
at the Senkwekwe Center,
as they grow,
they become more intelligent.
They also gain weight
and become stronger and stronger.
Even stronger than us.
So you need to know their psychology
to care for them.
You cannot force them to do something
because if they
decide to be stubborn,
you will have difficulties.
She wants everything for herself.
That is the reason
we use Pringles
to deal with them.
When you give them
something they like,
they realize that you're their friend.
We do not give it to them as food...
but rather as
a tactic to handle them.
And then,
you will always have good results.
This is the only
region in the world
where you can
still find mountain gorillas.
There are only about 800
left in the whole world.
Now if we lose them,
we will have lost
something very important for humanity.
It is thanks to the animals,
especially these gorillas,
that our forest
continues to be protected.
Tourism brings in money
to help us sustain
the conservation of nature.
There are many projects
being implemented around the park
because of our gorillas.
Virunga National Park is really important
because it contributes to
the development of our country.
People are really optimistic that
the park will make things better.
We always feel proud
to stay in this forest
and do this work.
You think there are 60,000 people here?
I think there are more and more
because people keep arriving.
Why do people keep coming?
It's because of the M23 rebels.
How do you feel about what has been
happening to you over the last few months?
When I look at my children,
I keep asking myself,
"My God, how will they grow up
under such conditions?"
I'm always worried about that.
SOCO, in collaboration with ICCN,
proceed to explore for oil
under Lake Edward.
Welcome to SOCO
We the people love you so much
Because you bring us development
In the coming years, this country
will be able to become
an oil producer.
Three years of team work with the support
of local and central authorities,
all the work of the local teams,
it's a fascinating adventure
and I don't have any regrets.
Now we just need to wait
for the oil to come.
When they come back,
what do we have to do?
What are your orders?
It's a good question.
If we close the gates,
if we stop them entering the park,
we risk huge trouble.
So we have to be cleverer than that.
It's not with weapons
that we are going to succeed,
but in documenting everything.
And if we bring this fight
in front of the police
in Congo,
but especially in England,
because SOCO is a British company.
This way we'll be able to defend ourselves
using their acts.
This oil issue might destroy everything.
If we fail, we'll not only lose Virunga,
but also the other parks in Congo.
All the other parks are going to sink.
Everyone will say,
"You're not allowing us to exploit oil
or ore in this park...
but you did so in Virunga."
If we fail here, the whole conservation
sector in Congo is going to fall.
It would be a disaster.
SOCO? Make Congo better?
No! And I repeat, no.
What will make Congo better?
It's work.
Work within the law.
All I know is that oil exploitation is
not compatible with conservation.
I am not saying that
because I am a ranger,
it's the law that says this.
If you look at everyone in the chain
of authorities in charge of the park,
Emmanuel de Merode is the only one
who doesn't feed on it.
We wonder what's wrong with him.
Everyone's noticed
that oil is something big.
It's worth billions of dollars.
It looks like he wants his government,
the Belgian one,
to be part of this exploitation,
or perhaps he wants them
to take control at a later stage.
Either way, he's the one
hindering the process,
and he's the only one.
At the moment,
the president's office,
everyone in the capital,
all have authorized it.
Even the minister for the environment
has authorized it.
So far it's simply a matter of checking
whether there is any oil.
It's like checking whether
a person's liver or heart is okay,
just checking if there's
something wrong or not.
I think you have come to the right place.
When your people
want to come into the park,
I can arrange things in my sector.
I can tell my people
that this is how things are going to be.
I'll have to speak to the minister,
so that the minister
can speak to you personally.
So the safety of the people of SOCO
can be given to Rodrigue
and his people.
But that should be your secret.
Just like that we can finalize it.
You get your cut,
and maybe you give me
a little of what they give you.
No problem.
People are being approached by SOCO
supporters and offered money.
Even people in Virunga's organization
are now working to undermine the park.
It is unclear who can be trusted.
What is the importance of this lake
for you as a community?
In Vitshumbi
we are about 2,000 inhabitants,
and all of us depend on this lake
as we don't have
any other work except fishing.
Therefore, fishing within
the Virunga National Park
is life for the community.
Our lives depend on it.
He says,
"We don't care about oil,
we earn our living
from the lake and fishing."
You see, we are barely surviving here.
In the past, things were much better.
But with the recent fighting,
people find their
living standards are falling.
Did SOCO come to ask for your views
about what is going on?
No, SOCO came in like a parachute.
We got up one morning
to see beautiful vehicles driving by.
We went to see who it was
and there were a few whites
and Captain Feruzi.
He's a military intelligence agent.
We were shocked to see him doing
a presentation to the people of the lake.
He told people that,
"If you accept SOCO here...
they will build
universities, roads and schools...
and you will have access
to cultivate in the park...
since at that moment
the park will be declassified."
All this frightens us locals.
It says, "Look, soldiers are here and
they could harm you if you don't comply."
Ndeze is expressing that...
she's not... happy because...
the breakfast is not ready yet.
Ndeze is smiling.
Ah, Kaboko!
Oil is an exhaustible resource
whereas fauna and flora
are inexhaustible resources.
Even if they are allowed to
exploit the oil,
it will one day come to an end.
But the park will remain
through the years.
From generation to generation,
people will see this park.
Big boss!
Look how big he's grown.
He opened the door for you!
Now they need you!
They know you are important
in that sector where you can help us.
They also know that you are
"the right hand" of the park director.
Do you understand?
This means, "We're buying you."
First accept and let us collaborate
and then they will be in the position to
give you whatever you are asking for...
While we are working together,
and you hear things,
you'll feed us information secretly.
Directly to you. Whenever I can.
We are trying to gauge
Emmanuel de Merode's position.
So what are we talking about?
3,000 dollars.
3,000? Okay.
You'll get your share
and no one will know a thing!
Captain Feruzi claims to work
for SOCO security contractors.
He is offering bribes
to work against the park.
This corruption threatens
everything we're working for.
Okay, I'm going to the bathroom,
I'll meet you downstairs.
It is the goal to check if we have oil
and then we compare.
Conservation, how much is it worth?
Oil, how much is it worth?
Do we start production?
But these people have their own vision
of the park's future.
They've been looking after it
for almost a century.
Moreover, it is full of rebels,
full of poachers, full of mess.
It is completely absurd.
The best solution, effective for everyone,
is to recolonize these countries.
There is no other solution.
For things to go well,
we have to manage them
because they are not able
to manage themselves.
They are like children, actually.
They aren't mature enough, I'd say.
You are tough with the Congolese people.
No, no, I know them too well.
There is this guy, who blocks,
because he's Belgian,
from the royal family, etc.
And he's responsible for the park,
so he's got all the power in this park.
His management gave us permission
but he stands in our way.
I think he plays
his political role a little bit,
as a member of the royal family.
I would quite like to be his friend,
but he doesn't want to be my friend.
Did you try?
No. I shook his hand once.
I'd been in Goma three days.
I didn't know anything.
Okay, thanks.
Thanks, see you soon.
I'll keep the car in drive position
in case we have to get out of here fast.
We'll go together with Josue.
Josue, how are you doing?
This is Pieter Wright.
He is my boss.
He is a security advisor with SOCO.
The reason I wanted to see you was to be
able to put a name to your face because...
very soon, we will start
working in that area.
We will contact you regularly.
We will now give you a little something...
Just to say thank you.
It is important that we work together.
So what I want to say with regard to
the difficulties we are facing,
is that if we are strong
and we withstand the situation,
it is because we work as a team.
Please always remember
that you have done a great job.
You have shown your courage
and some of your friends
have died for the rebuilding of the park.
The other thing
I wanted to tell you about is
the confusion which has developed
around the oil issue with SOCO.
And what I want
to tell you is very simple.
We are here to enforce the law.
It is law which allows
peace re-establishment
and country reconstruction.
We are not here
to work for business interests,
be it with regard to oil.
It is about integrity and honesty.
We have to maintain
the respect and discipline
which characterize us.
I'm doing a boy's band.
M23 cover album.
Okay. I'll give the whole pack away, then.
What is that?
What do you want to drink?
A coffee?
Maybe not Heineken again,
it's a bit early.
It's Sunday!
You have Heineken on Sunday?
On Sunday, on Saturday...
The other days I can't drink much
because I'm working.
And at the moment
are you working a lot?
Communication is so much work,
it's tiring.
I am a great notable of Rutshuru.
You have a lot of land there, don't you?
How many hectares?
2,000 hectares, that's it.
And the friends from SOCO
have put marker stones on my land
to mark out the Block 5, their concession.
Some people don't like
SOCO doing its work here.
Minister Vunabandi asked me to calm them.
I did that job.
I've communicated to the population
that it's better to work with SOCO
than work with the park.
You told them that it was better?
Yes, I told the people
better with SOCO than with the park.
If SOCO works with us,
in particular with me...
I am in the M23, but outside the M23
I have my private businesses.
All right, so you would have a percentage?
Yes, we are asking for a percentage.
They cannot exploit oil without us.
It's a percentage,
whether it is 0.01 or 0.001.
Yes, it can be a lot of money.
A lot.
They used a chainsaw to remove
part of the head and the upper jaw.
They took that, as well as the tusks.
Examining the ballistics
suggests this wasn't
the work of poachers
we are familiar with.
This was a military style operation.
We will march on the capital Kinshasa!
Long live M23!
Ladies, gentlemen,
we regretfully announce
the resumption of war
by the Kinshasa government.
So the goal isn't to gain more territory?
No, let me be clear.
If the government agree
to enter into dialogue with us
and suspend their attacks,
we are here for peace.
If they continue to violate the truce,
then we know what we will do.
Hey! Did you get my text?
No, no, no, you didn't tell me
where you were.
Okay. Opposite Rouge
and it's called "Grill"?
Okay, cool. Let's do that. Perfect.
Please be careful, sir.
I hate that.
If you pull the trigger now, it goes off.
I hate when they do that.
No security on!
So we speak English tonight.
No, Franais!
My Franais is a bit shit.
What do you define yourself as?
Some people would say I'm a mercenary.
You're a mercenary?
Some people would...
some people wouldn't.
The people here are nice, but I tell you
one thing, they've got bloodlust.
They kill for the fucking sake of killing
and they fucking hinge on it.
There are lots of rebels...
you look at them
and straight away you think...
The energy is up and you think...
-they enjoy it.
-Fucking mad, yeah?
They like it and there is nothing
you can do about it.
You can't educate, you can't...
Culture them?
There is nothing you can change
in their mentality
because it's fucking primeval.
It is primeval, it is ancient,
it is inbred psychology
that you cannot fucking change.
Don't you talk to these guys?
Which ones?
-The rebels?
We talk to them every day.
Well, not me, but subcontractors.
We don't deal with the rebels.
You've got to give them money
to be able to travel through the area.
What do you think you're doing
with DEI (SOCO security contractors)?
How much do you think
SOCO's paid fucking...
Shut up!
We have a journalist here!
If you're gonna be honest, be honest.
And while you're paying them and
keeping them happy, they'll work with you.
I never spoke to a fucking rebel myself.
That's why we subcontract that shit.
Who's paying the fucking money?
You or them?
-No, you can't get away with that.
It doesn't matter
where the money comes from.
Of course it does,
without the money the job doesn't happen.
Fucking civilians don't get killed.
You don't have war.
It's the money that fuels everything.
So to give them money and then turn around
and say it's nothing to do with us...
It's just fucking hypocritical.
You know, it's just... It's playing God.
But if you're gonna do it,
at least be fucking honest about it!
It's business, it's business,
and business is business.
Now we can see the value of that park,
It's just a fucking mine, this park.
It could be colossal.
-With the intelligence, it's crazy...
-It is colossal.
...the money you could pull out.
Now what they defend,
I'm not sure it's all about animals.
I'm not sure at all.
It ain't gorillas, put it that way.
I don't think it could be
so highly involved
to do the shit they do.
Unless they're shitting diamonds
and fucking pissing iron ore,
they don't give a fuck
about the gorillas.
Fuck me, it's a monkey,
who gives a fuck about a fucking monkey?
Firstly, as you all know
there were clashes yesterday
and the fighting intensified in Bunagana.
But we need to prepare ourselves in case
that fighting may spread
and affect us here in Rumangabo.
It's Melanie.
They're approaching.
Yes, the M23.
And the army is fleeing towards Bukavu.
The villagers are about to start leaving.
We are going to stay here.
I just wanted to know
about the food for the gorillas.
How many days' worth do we have left?
Two days.
The M23 rebels are in Rubare.
If they cut off Mwaro,
we'll have to cope with what we have.
We think we have a problem.
The danger is near us.
Good morning again.
I wanted to tell you that
the explosions you heard some time ago
were M23 rebel actions.
You should all have your essential items
packed and be ready for evacuation.
We are going to Kibati actually.
It's a bit further.
Sorry, is there a problem?
I'll start by calling the names.
If you hear your name,
move aside with your belongings
and children so that I can see you.
If there is excessive luggage,
I will leave it!
They are advancing.
They're nearly at Kalengera.
We've got to hurry.
If everybody is there,
then we must start the evacuation.
Yes, let's evacuate everyone who's ready.
Hi, is everything okay?
No, he's really weakened.
What's caused it?
Diarrhea. He suffered from diarrhea
the whole night last night.
But yesterday, he played and he ate.
What is his name?
Ah, he's the one called Kaboko.
He is suffering.
You see, he's suffering.
If they ask us
to hand over our arms...
...we'll have to react fast
and hide them.
If they ask us to do that,
and I'm telling you I know them well,
it would be worse than you think.
If they are telling us
to hand them over...
You all know the situation.
The M23 rebels are about to arrive here.
Our role now is to protect the station.
It is very likely that this zone
falls under the control of M23.
And I am counting on you to stay with me.
Our role is simply to stay here
to watch over the station
which is there for the park.
If they come here,
we cannot fight against them.
I will be the last to leave Rumangabo.
-Stop, stop! Stop.
-Yes, yes, yes.
-Quickly, let's go!
-Get in.
-Here, here, here.
-Quick, quick, quick!
Going to Ihusi. Yes.
The Congolese army are
deploying around the station.
Rutshuru is under the control of M23.
There is going to be trouble here.
Yes, I think so.
They are my life.
So if it is about dying,
I will die for the gorillas.
We've been informed
that the enemy is on his way.
You know why we are here.
If they were to go further over,
we'd be between the hammer and the anvil.
Even here... we are between
the hammer and the anvil.
They're here.
Yes, M23 are in Rumangabo.
The M23 rebels are here.
They've entered.
So there is nothing.
No more Congolese soldiers. They left.
The country is sold.
In the last few days,
we have had many wounded people.
The majority are children.
All these people were shot.
This one almost died
but we gave him a blood transfusion.
Do you know how old is he?
Five... he's five.
It's the money that fuels everything.
Now we can see the value of that park.
Yes, we are asking for a percentage.
They cannot exploit oil without us.
So now there are death threats coming.
Death threats, from both sides.
Some people are threatening
to kill de Merode.
It doesn't come from us,
we don't know from whom.
They know that the blockage
comes from him.
They are going to kill him.
We're going to celebrate.
There's an even smaller one.
It's only 3 months old.
You know that Kaboko was the only male
that we had here at the Senkwekwe Center.
In my heart, I still miss him.
I really miss him.
But I have started understanding
that these things happen.
And even the other gorillas,
especially Maisha...
Maisha also lost Kaboko.
We are trying to realize life goes on.
I have accepted to give
the best of myself,
so that wildlife can be safeguarded
beyond all pressure.
Beyond all spirit of
greediness about money.
Beyond all things.
All that could happen to me...
I will accept it.
I am not special.
We cannot stand weak and say,
"SOCO, go ahead."
In the end, we will be judged...
if we just stand by as the park vanishes.
But our wish is that
this park lives forever.