"LOS ANGELES TIMES" REVIEW: ELEPHANTS PAY THE PRICE IN DOCUMENTARY "IVORY. A CRIME STORY"
By Katie Walsh
Source: Los Angeles Times
November 10, 2016, 12:35 PM
The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Kenya from the documentary 'Ivory. A Crime Story' (Yastrebfilm)
The shocking documentary “Ivory. A Crime Story” doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to depicting the lawless hunt for elephant ivory that spans the globe. With graphic images of violence against animals and people, the film, directed by Sergey Yastrzhembskiy, is an investigation into the economic forces that drive the increased appetite for ivory.
Starting in Africa, “Ivory. A Crime Story” posits that poaching has gone from petty theft to organized international crime ring, a commercial industry that funds political fringe and terrorists group on the continent. But the cost of ivory has gone up, fueled by an insatiable desire for the precious substance, prized in many different countries and religions, from Catholicism to Buddhism. Yastrzhembskiy heavily implicates the increased influence of Chinese industry and tourism in Africa as a factor in the illegal smuggling of ivory.
The story spans international law on ivory trade, religious and cultural traditions, and political motivations. Coupled with the imagery of elephant carcasses and violence committed against poachers and rangers in Africa, the film is not an easy watch. Voice-over provided by “Scarface” actor Steven Bauer intensifies the viewing experience as well.
The situation seems dire in many ways, though Yastrzhembskiy offers some hope at the end of the film, along with solutions to controlling demand in the ivory market. It’s a powerful call to action and a reminder of the bloody global implications contained in a single trinket.
‘Ivory. A Crime Story’
Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills
Address: 9036 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Screening Dates: Friday, November 11 to 17 – 5 Shows Per Day