Jane’s Journey

Lorenz Knauer's docu "Jane's Journey" wisely keeps its remarkable subject center-stage throughout.

With:
With: Jane Goodall, Kofi Annan, Angelina Jolie, Pierce Brosnan, Hugo van Lawick. (English, Acholi, Kiswahili dialogue)

A worshipful tribute to the life and work of Jane Goodall, Lorenz Knauer’s docu “Jane’s Journey” wisely keeps its remarkable subject center-stage throughout, allowing her serene energy to focus the narrative as she recounts her journey from animal conservationist to environmental activist to global humanitarian. Knauer blunders into chirpy advertorial territory with a hokey inspirational montage under an even hokier song midway through, but this mood-destroying passage is mercifully brief. Educational pic could travel almost as extensively as does the indefatigable Goodall, given the soft-spoken, mesmerizing conviction of a woman whom one award presenter dubs an “environmental superstar.”

“Journey”s first leg takes place in Tanzania’s Gombe preserve, where Goodall began as a 23-year-old with no degree or particular training outside of an open mind and love for animals. Present-day HD footage of the white-haired Goodall socializing with chimpanzees alternates with archival excerpts of a young blonde just getting to know the simian locals. These 8mm clips also serve to introduce her first husband, nature photog Hugo van Lawick, while homemovies of an even earlier Goodall illustrate her recollections of English childhood.

Once out of Gombe, the docu gets caught up in the whirlwind of activities and obligations that keeps this intrepid primatologist and U.N. Messenger of Peace busy traveling 300 days a year. Knauer presents snippets of her various public appearances, award receptions and speaking engagements on behalf of the Jane Goodall Institute, with particular emphasis placed on the burgeoning Roots and Shoots project, which currently numbers hundreds of grassroots organizations worldwide but started humbly with 16 youths. Formally, this is the docu’s weakest section, dwelling on meet-and-greets and autograph signings with fans.

The final phase of “Journey” features more in-depth jaunts: to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, ravaged by alcoholism and suicide (the site of a Roots and Shoots garden project); to Greenland, where huge slabs of falling ice spectacularly signal the inexorable progress of global warming; to a Congolese refugee camp where the camera zeroes in on the faces of children running alongside the Jeep as Goodall tackles the problem of population displacement.

Pic ends at a Tanzania forest pool where a “hippo whisperer,” whose family has protected the giant beasts for generations, projects his voice across the water, to magical effect.

Jane's Journey

Germany

Production: A Bavarian Film Intl. release of a Neos Film, CC Medien, Sphinx Media production in association with Animal Planet, Sudwestrundfunk/Arte, Cinepostproduction, Licht & Ton. Produced by Philipp Schall, Philipp Wundt, Michael Halberstadt. Executive producers, Matthias Triebel, Andreas Atzwanger, Torben Struck. Directed, written by Lorenz Knauer.

Crew: Camera (color, HD, 8mm), Richard Ladkani; editor, Corina Dietz; music, Wolfgang Netzer; sound (Dolby Digital), Andreas Rudroff;sound designer, Andreas Rudroff. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Oct. 25, 2010. (In Hamptons, Abu Dhabi film festivals.) Running time: 106 MIN.

With: With: Jane Goodall, Kofi Annan, Angelina Jolie, Pierce Brosnan, Hugo van Lawick. (English, Acholi, Kiswahili dialogue)

More Film

  • Kazuhiro Tsuji Darkest Hour Makeup artist

    'Darkest Hour,' 'American Horror Story' Lead Make-up and Hair Stylists Guild Winners

    A worshipful tribute to the life and work of Jane Goodall, Lorenz Knauer’s docu “Jane’s Journey” wisely keeps its remarkable subject center-stage throughout, allowing her serene energy to focus the narrative as she recounts her journey from animal conservationist to environmental activist to global humanitarian. Knauer blunders into chirpy advertorial territory with a hokey inspirational […]

  • Isle of Dogs

    The 10 Best Films of the 2018 Berlin Film Festival

    A worshipful tribute to the life and work of Jane Goodall, Lorenz Knauer’s docu “Jane’s Journey” wisely keeps its remarkable subject center-stage throughout, allowing her serene energy to focus the narrative as she recounts her journey from animal conservationist to environmental activist to global humanitarian. Knauer blunders into chirpy advertorial territory with a hokey inspirational […]

  • Indian Actress Sridevi Kapoor Arrives For

    Legendary Bollywood Actress Sridevi Dies at 54

    A worshipful tribute to the life and work of Jane Goodall, Lorenz Knauer’s docu “Jane’s Journey” wisely keeps its remarkable subject center-stage throughout, allowing her serene energy to focus the narrative as she recounts her journey from animal conservationist to environmental activist to global humanitarian. Knauer blunders into chirpy advertorial territory with a hokey inspirational […]

  • NMHC Impact Awards

    Aubrey Plaza, NHMC President Call Out Under-Representation of Latinos at Impact Awards

    A worshipful tribute to the life and work of Jane Goodall, Lorenz Knauer’s docu “Jane’s Journey” wisely keeps its remarkable subject center-stage throughout, allowing her serene energy to focus the narrative as she recounts her journey from animal conservationist to environmental activist to global humanitarian. Knauer blunders into chirpy advertorial territory with a hokey inspirational […]

  • Emma Chambers'HOW DO YOU WANT ME'

    'Notting Hill' Actress Emma Chambers Dies at 53

    A worshipful tribute to the life and work of Jane Goodall, Lorenz Knauer’s docu “Jane’s Journey” wisely keeps its remarkable subject center-stage throughout, allowing her serene energy to focus the narrative as she recounts her journey from animal conservationist to environmental activist to global humanitarian. Knauer blunders into chirpy advertorial territory with a hokey inspirational […]

  • Las herederas The Heiresses

    Berlin Double Silver Bear Winner 'The Heiresses' Sells Major Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

    A worshipful tribute to the life and work of Jane Goodall, Lorenz Knauer’s docu “Jane’s Journey” wisely keeps its remarkable subject center-stage throughout, allowing her serene energy to focus the narrative as she recounts her journey from animal conservationist to environmental activist to global humanitarian. Knauer blunders into chirpy advertorial territory with a hokey inspirational […]

  • Touch Me Not

    Berlin Festival Awards: 'Touch Me Not' Wins Golden Bear for Best Film

    A worshipful tribute to the life and work of Jane Goodall, Lorenz Knauer’s docu “Jane’s Journey” wisely keeps its remarkable subject center-stage throughout, allowing her serene energy to focus the narrative as she recounts her journey from animal conservationist to environmental activist to global humanitarian. Knauer blunders into chirpy advertorial territory with a hokey inspirational […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content