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Natural Wonder: Tracing the Extraordinary Life Story of Jane Goodall

"Everything that I admire and love about documentary film was inherent in this material."10/22/2017 9:30 PM Eastern
Jane Goodall watches as Hugo van Lawick operates a film camera in the feature documentary 'Jane,' courtesy of the Jane Goodall Institute
"If you ever meet Jane Goodall and well up with overwhelmed joy, you won't be alone," writes Melena Ryzik. 'I make everybody cry,' said Dr. Goodall, the primatologist and conservationist. 'The Jane effect.'

"Tears have indeed been shed at Jane, a new documentary about her early life and accomplishments. It's based on more than 100 hours of footage, shot in the 1960s for National Geographic and hidden in its archives since. The cameraman was Hugo van Lawick, who arrived to document Dr. Goodall's life among the chimpanzees in Gombe, Tanzania, and left as her husband." To read the full article, click here.

"The core of Jane is colorful footage discovered only recently of Goodall's early years in Gombe, woven together with home movies and contemporary interviews with the now 83-year-old primatologist and U.N. messenger of peace. Goodall narrates from her books, reinforcing a philosophy that begins and perhaps even ends with living lightly on the Earth," writes David Edelstein.



Jane Goodall's Unparalleled Life, in Never-Before-Seen Footage

Director Shapes Long Lost 16 Millimeter Footage to Shed Fresh Light on Jane Goodall

Jane is a Captivating Look at Jane Goodall's Attempts to Understand "the Great Mystery"

"Hugo went where nobody had ever gone before, shooting beautiful sixteen millimeter color reversal in Africa with no crew," explains Brett Morgen, the director of the documentary, to Hugh Hart. "In his own way, what Hugo achieved in recording these moments for posterity is just as extraordinary as what Jane did."

"The bad news," Hart continues, "is that Van Lawick's footage, all 140 hours, arrived in a state of total disarray. 'It became clear within ten minutes of screening this stuff that I had a major problem because none of the footage came from consecutive reels,' Morgen recalls. 'We were looking at completely random, scrambled up shots, no sound, the color was all washed out and there were 160 chimpanzees on film, but only three or four were relevant to the story. It became a Herculean task, figuring out how to organize this enormous wealth of material.'" To read the full interview, click here.

On day one, we realized that there were no dailies, and I can’t emphasize how important that is," Morgen tells Christina Radish.  "If you’re doing a film like this, with the original camera reels, you'd see anything that was shot within a given hour, and then that becomes scenes. With this, that didn't exist.

"You had to work really hard to get somewhere. But despite that issue, when I first looked at this footage, without question, I thought that somehow I'd stumbled upon the greatest 16mm film in existence.



"Everything that I admire and love about documentary film was inherent in this material. On one hand, it did what documentaries are best suited for, which is documenting this once-in-a-lifetime, once-in-history scientific endeavor. To document these monumental moments is one of the great tools and uses of non-fiction. On the other hand, Hugo presented it in a way that was so refined and elegant, and his sense of symmetry and composition elevated all of these images. The combination of those two factors was just utterly inspiring." To read the full interview, click here

Jane Goodall Reflects on a Lifelong Mission to Save the Planet, and She's Far from Finished

Director Brett Morgen on Jane



In Brett Morgen's Jane Goodall Doc, Life Among the Chimps Has Never Looked Better

Brett Morgen on Jane, Syncing Philip Glass's Score to Chimp Sounds and Organizing 140 Hours of Archival Footage
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