The life of Jane Goodall

A human who lives in the jungle with the apes: this isn’t just the tale of Tarzan, but also of Jane. Jane Goodall to be precise. Our online editor Jeannette Jonker watched the documentary Jane.

As a child, I was fascinated by the nature series in which she related her adventures with the chimpanzees Flo, Fifi and Flint. Which is why I was delighted to hear about the 2017 documentary Jane in which it’s not the monkeys who play the starring role, but Jane Goodall herself. And that’s a great thing, because this is a woman with an incredibly interesting and rich life to look back on.

The documentary goes back to 1960, when a young Goodall starts her adventure in the jungle. She had no idea what she was going to encounter, because little was known about chimpanzees in the wild. Her goal was to observe chimpanzees from up close, which she succeeded in doing and was able to make ground-breaking discoveries. Images of an uninhibited young woman in the jungle alternate with moments that show a wise, older Jane reflecting on her life.

The documentary shows Jane walking for hours through the jungle, and observing the animals in a dazzlingly beautiful environment. She leads a simple life, camping together with her mother, who accompanies her on this trip. During the day, Jane goes out on her own and enjoys her solitary moments in nature. The arrival of Dutch photographer and filmmaker Hugo van Lawick, whose task it is to record her discoveries, turns her quiet world upside down. Soon, something beautiful blossoms between the two. Eventually they marry and they have a son together. How they combine all this with their work in the jungle is something that is best left for you to watch yourself. In addition to this heart-warming love story, viewers are treated to beautiful images of nature—complete with an authentic filter from the ‘60s—endearing monkeys and the voice of an inspiring woman who is passionately pursuing her childhood dreams.

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