Using a trove of unseen footage, the film tells the story of Jane Goodall’s early explorations, focusing on her groundbreaking field work, her relationship with cameraman and husband Hugo van Lawick, and the chimpanzees that she studied.
Director: Brett Morgen
Writer: Brett Morgen
Star: Jane Goodall
Almost all of us know something about Jane Goodall and her pioneering work studying chimpanzees in the wild.
Brett Morgen’s documentary adds to that knowledge in ways that make her life and legacy even more extraordinary and inspiring.
It helps immeasurably that Morgen has access to more than 100 hours of “rediscovered” footage shot by Hugo van Lawick, a nature photographer who came to Africa to chronicle her adventures.
Van Lawick, who later became Goodall’s husband, was one of the top in his craft in the world and his work is sublime.
Morgen sets the story up nicely with some textual preamble, including the fact that Goodall, at the age of 26 and with no university degree or training, came to Gombe in the early 1960s at the behest of legendary anthropologist Louis Leakey.
There’s also a recent interview with Goodall knits together the threads of her eventful life and what a rich life it has been, filled with highs and lows, tragedy and triumph.
Goodall has left her mark on the world and this documentary ably and engagingly celebrates that legacy.
– Bruce DeMara, Toronto Star