Academy Award–nominated director Brett Morgen (On the Ropes) reconstitutes 50-year-old National Geographic footage into a poetic look at primatologist Jane Goodall, set to a magnificent score by Philip Glass.
In the 1960s, National Geographic sent a cameraman to film Jane Goodall's pioneering work with chimpanzees in Tanzania's Gombe Stream National Park. Goodall was a striking figure, hand-picked in her twenties by groundbreaking paleontologist Louis Leakey for her love of animals, her appetite for adventure, and her patience. Photographer and filmmaker Hugo van Lawick trained his camera on her as much as on the chimpanzees. He shot over 140 hours of 16mm footage that was stored in an archive for decades — until now.
Filmmaker Brett Morgen makes the most of this extraordinary visual record of Goodall's early career. This isn't a traditional nature film or biography. It's a romantic epic, combining van Lawick's cinematography, Goodall's eloquent storytelling, and a magnificent new score by Philip Glass.
In new interviews, Goodall looks back to the era when she was breaking ground as the first person to study chimpanzees so closely. The footage records her interactions with primates who became as close to her as humans, including the high-ranking mother chimp called Flo. Both the chimpanzees and Goodall underwent relationship trials and tribulations that she frankly recounts. As a female scientist without previous formal training, she was breaking boundaries and defying expectations. This emotional journey will leave a lasting impression.