Coming to theatres today, Friday, December 6:
WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS
Sheffield, New Orleans, Mountainfilm, Denver, Zurich, Planet in Focus, San Diego, Movies That Matter, Docs Against Gravity, Budapest Docs, Wild & Scenic, Washington DC Enviro, Philadelphia Enviro, Indie Grits
A complex exploration of ivory hunting, from the perspectives of ranger and poacher.
Set in Kenya, director Jon Kasbe’s well-constructed film offers a remarkably insider look at the ivory trade, focused on an ivory dealer called X and his cousin, Asan, a former poacher turned ranger tasked with preventing poaching. Embedding with both men, the filmmaker demonstrates the unforgiving economic reality that sustains the illegal killing of elephants. While X is an unlikable figure, disingenuously attempting to elide his role in the slaughter of animals by noting that his colleague, Lukas, is the one who shoots them while he only supervises, it’s made evident that X seems to have few options. He was born into this detestable profession and there are few ways to support his family – a situation facing Asan, who has worked unpaid for months, and faces the moral dilemma of helping his cousin with his illegal activities. Kasbe’s observational approach provides no easy answers or judgement, which will rankle some viewers, but it makes for an impressive and distinct portrait of a well-covered topic.