Wednesday, 10 January 2018


Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend a special screening of a film called Jane, a documentary about Jane Goodall who was there in person for a question and answer session. The screening was in Bournemouth, which was where Jane grew up.

The film focuses on the early years of Jane's career and uses footage filmed by her then husband Hugo van Lawick with narration mostly from a new interview with her. Lawick was clearly very talented and thus the footage is stunning- it's also been beautifully colorised for the film so that it looks like it was filmed within the last few years.

It partly looks at Jane's chimpanzee study and how she came to make discoveries and build her relationship with the tribe. No-one had studied chimpanzees this closely before and Jane's discoveries transformed our knowledge of them. Her early methods may not stand up to modern scientific standards but without the early footage she would not have received funding to go on and discover so much more.

The film also looks at Jane's personal life and the difficult balance between her work and family. There was an interesting conflict between the two and it was also interesting to see how she looked to the chimps for inspiration. Her marriage with Hugo is discussed in depth and how they drifted apart once his National Geographic funding to film Jane and the chimpanzees ended.

I liked everything about the film. It was wonderfully put together with sounded gorgeous with the natural sounds of Tanzania and a great soundtrack by Philip Glass. I especially liked that it was narrated by Jane and so it felt like her real view of things rather than an agenda decided upon by the documentary makers.

The Q and A was great too- at 83 Jane is still so warm and passionate. She talked a lot about her legacy and the vast education program around the world she set up. She also spoke about how every person can make a difference in helping the environment in small ways and how they can build up to something so much bigger.

Perhaps the part that really stuck with me is when Jane was asked how optimistic about the future she is. She said that there's hope for the future of wildlife if we change attitudes and that it's easiest to work with young people to do this. She continued to say that she is optimistic about nature's resilience, the indomitable human spirit and our amazing brains but if we continue business as usual it will be too late.

Jane Goodall is an amazing and inspirational woman and it was a privilege to listen to her speak.

Picture Source: DogWoof on Twitter

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