Located in Kivu on the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo, “The Mercy of the Jungle” eradicates existential fears with its huge conceit, after a pair of Rwandan soldiers swept away in a haze of multinational and regional conflicts in the 1990s. In the latter part of.
Sent with the vindictive aim of hunting down ethnic Hutu rebels, the men bravely confronted the elements and reckoned with their own involvement in perpetuating the violence.
Filmmaker and co-writer Joel Carrazzi survived the Rwandan genocide, which was a contributing factor to the military upheaval depicted in the film, here skirts the text of the big-picture history, rather than subjective, boot-on-the -Ground testimony.
Accidentally separated from his unit, Xavier (Mark Zynga), a hard-nosed veteran, and Faustin (Stephen Bak) descend deep into the dangerous jungle to escape the enemy on the main road. Traveling in the wild comes with expected challenges, such as severely unstable weather conditions and fever hallucinations. At the same time, the film’s vividly rendered atmosphere, with tightly dense foliage and vivid natural sounds, enhances the dizzy nature of war without resorting to titles or idyllic images that can glorify pain and suffering.
The film also pays attention to the ways in which a person’s struggle to survive can have a devastating ripple effect. On one side, especially the poignant, is the mourning of a soldier found dead after an encounter with two men in a village. Later they present themselves as soldiers of the Congo to benefit from local hospitality.
Contrary to expectations, this morally ambiguous turn of events is not employed for its exciting potential. The ease with which Xavier and Faustin are integrated into this “foreign” community reveals the arbitrary nature of territorial boundaries and friend-or-enemy distinctions – such is the meaninglessness of modern warfare.
Mercy of the forest
Not rated. In French and Swahili, with subtitles. Running Time: 1 hour 31 minutes. Watch the film on Movement Plus.