Opening at NYC’s IFC Center today, Friday, September 16 and in LA’s Laemmle Monica 4 next Friday, September 23: JANE’S JOURNEY
Lorenz Knauer’s portrait of Jane Goodall has screened at more than a dozen festivals around the world, including the Hamptons, Abu Dhabi, Palm Springs, Cleveland, and Edinburgh. In addition to a limited theatrical release beginning this week, the film will also be shown at select theatres natiionally on Tuesday, September 27 for a special one-night only event, “Jane Goodall Live!”
Goodall entered the public’s consciousness through her work as a primatologist, having begun field research on chimpanzees in the 1960s. In the mid-1980s, faced with the stark reality that humans had pretty much made a mess of the planet, she turned her efforts away from her beloved chimps to focus instead on broader environmental and humanitarian work. While accompanying Jane back to Tanzania for a visit with the animals that she helped demystify, and to provide pertinent biographical details, the bulk of Knauer’s film instead offers glimpses into the unrelenting schedule that Goodall keeps, traveling an average of 300 days a year in support of a variety of programs and causes. While the effect can be a bit cursory, what never lets the film down is Goodall herself – she projects a sense of tranquility and familiarity that envelops the camera, and the viewer, in a comfortable embrace. While the doc might tend toward the hagiographic, it would be hard to imagine anyone disliking this woman anyway, and the causes to which she has devoted herself are nothing if not laudable. If the goodwill her historic work with the chimpanzees has engendered leads audiences to learn about combating global poverty and climate change, more the better. Just don’t mistake her for Dian Fossey.