Using a trove of never-before-seen footage, the film tells the story of Jane's early explorations and research in Tanzania, focusing on her groundbreaking field work, her relationship with her cameraman and husband Hugo Van Lawick, and the chimpanzees that were the subject of her study.Written by
Delightful documentary with stellar Philip Glass soundtrack
"Jane" (2017 release; 90 min.) is a documentary about the life and times of Jane Goodall. As the movie opens, we are reminded that in 2014 hundreds of hours of 1960s film footage was unearthed at the National Geographic archives relating to Jane Goodall. From there we go back in time, and we get to know Jane, then 26, as she is chosen by Dr. Leakey to observe and mingle with the wild chimps in Gombe, Tanzania, even though she has no training or science degree (yet). It was important to Dr. Leakey that someone with an open mind without preconceptions would do the observing. Jane can't believe her good fortune as this is a dream come true for her. She throws herself into her work. At this point we are less than 10 min. into the movie.
Couple of comments: this is the latest from documentary maker Brett Morgen, who previously brought us the excellent "Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck", Chicago 10" and "The Kid Stay in the Picture", among others. Here he sifts through mountains of rarely or never seen footage shot over half a century ago, showing us how a 26 year old single white woman decides to do whatever it takes to integrate herself into a community of wild chimps. Along the way we also learn a thing or two about Jane's personal life.But the primary reason to watch this is the 1960s footage of the bush and what life was like back then. There are some extraordinary scenes, and some frightening ones as well. But it always kept my attention. last, but certainly not least, Morgen was able to convince the legendary Philip Glass to write a brand new score for this movie, and that score is classic Glass, just gorgeous (available here on Amazon on CD and as a download). You can bet I will check that out shortly.
"Jane" opened to positive acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival last Fall. I was quite surprised that it didn't score a Best Documentary Oscar nomination, but that doesn't diminish the movie's quality or its appeal. This recently opened for a one week run at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The screening where I caught it at (on the very last day of that one week run) was attended quite nicely actually (probably other people who, like me, wanted to catch it before the end of its run). If you like nature/animal documentaries, or are simply curious to learn more about the life of this extraordinary lady, you cannot go wrong with this. "Jane" is a WINNER.
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