Tuesday, January 02, 2018


Yesterday I saw Jane, a documentary about the life of Jane Goodall.

A 26-year-old secretary is probably not the first person you'd expect to be deployed to Africa to study chimpanzees close up, but that's exactly what happened to Jane Goodall. She was an animal lover, a quick study and academically ignorant since she hadn't attended college, so her boss thought her the perfect choice. Turns out, he was right.

For over 50 years, Ms. Goodall has conducted the most extensive research on primates in history. Her ability to integrate seamlessly into their communities enables her to get closer to their families, which yields more intimate glimpses into how they live and love. In this film, Director Brett Morgen blends archive footage from National Geographic with narration and present-day interviews with Ms. Goodall to create the complete journey of her life.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't get tired of seeing young Ms. Goodall flirtatiously smirk toward the lens (which was at the time being pointed by her future husband, who was a photographer hired by the magazine), but I did appreciate the many scenes of authentic interactions between her and the chimps, and the chimps among themselves.

Though what she was/is doing is undoubtedly dangerous (primates aren't the only wild animals roaming Africa, of course), it does show that species can peacefully co-exist and does remind us that the world is full of intelligent, emotional creatures.

Anyone who sees this will feel they are entering a world they'd never otherwise get to witness.


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