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Dec 12 2017

Doc Corner: 'Jane' is Our Oscar Frontrunner

by Glenn Dunks

We are informed at the beginning ofJanethat the footage we are about to see had been previously lost.While it is absolutely astonishing that such incredible footage could have somehow just vanished and nobody thought to look for it before now,let's be thankful.It means we getJane,a compelling and often awe-inspiring documentary from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Brett Morgen.

Janeis gorgeously composed documentary.An exciting play of form that that swings among the vines thanks to the prowess of contemporary rhythms of structure and construction,yet hums to the classic,even nostalgia-inducing visions at its heart...

I personally can't imagine the film losing the Academy AwardAPP亚博娱乐 .Not only is the film an exciting technical work,briskly edited and rich in vivid colours,but its subject is a person who engenders such respect and admiration that it is hard to imagine voters watching it and not immediately leaping to their ballots.

This previously missing footage,filmed by Goodall's now late ex-husband,Hugo van Lawick,builds the spine of Brett Morgen's film upon which he adds interviews with and narration by Goodall herself.There's also additional video of her returning to England a celebrity (albeit one doted on with sexist journalistic lingo).It was wise,too,for Morgen and his editor Joe Beshenkovsky to include further video of Goodall and van Lawick on the Serengeti;breathtakingly beautiful imagery that is not just an eye-popping sliver of nature porn,but a canny way to give the central narrative of Goodall with the monkeys of Gombe some needed breathing room.This footage in particular is enough to make me dread what this upcoming "live action"remake ofThe Lion Kingwill look like.

One of the reasons I fell forJaneas much as I did was this footage.Because of that,the film feels as much Hugo van Lawick's as it does Morgen's.His footage was shot on film so it has that shimmering glow that many viewers of a certain age will remember from watching nature documentaries on the television in their own youth.And it must be said that Goodall positively radiates throughout – so much so that in some instances you might think you see a halo form overhead.The content of this filmed collaboration between husband and wife would be seen as primitive and perhaps even unexciting by today's standards,especially compared to the likes ofPlanet Earth,but within the context ofJane,it's something comforting that still manages to bristle with a sense of wonder strong enough to make even a cynic gooey.

Philip Glass' score is overly effusive,and I could have used ever so slightly more of the outside world for context of why Goodall's work had such a striking affect on the public.But ultimately,Janeis a film tailor-made to be liked by anybody who sees it,soothed by the way it effortless sinks the audience into its old world where science and discovery of our world was still something that could be household conversation topics.But most of all,it is a celebration of Jane Goodall and her work.A transfixing documentary positively overflowing with goodness.It might sound hokey,but it was exactly the tonic that I needed.

Release:Currently pretty wide for a documentary in national release (42 screens).
Oscar Chances:Seems like a lock for a nominations and the win is Brett Morgen's for the taking.In the absence of a mega-hit or an all-consuming cultural behemoth,Janeappears to have the goods to take the trophy on what will be Morgen's second nomination nearly 20 years after his first withOn the Ropes.

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Reader Comments (13)

Jane came and went to second-run pretty quickly here!I need to catch it before it leaves.

I haven't seen either yet,but I can't help but root for Agnès Varda to take this one.Has anyone won a competitive Oscar the same year they won an Honorary Oscar?

December 12,2017 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

@Harold Russell did in 1947.He got an Honorary Oscar and the supporting actor Oscar

December 12,2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteve_Man

The poster for this makes me think Rooney Mara would be perfect casting to play Goodall in a biopic.

December 12,2017 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

@Steve_Man: What's Harold Russell got to do with this article?You say @Harold Russell did...Did what?1947 is the year he got his two Oscars for The Best Years of Our Lives (1946).亚博主页Maybe you meant to write about a different piece?

December 12,2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Marcos--Steve_Man was answering Roger's question in the first comment.

December 12,2017 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

I still hope Faces Places wins.

December 12,2017 | Unregistered CommenterEric

Roger-the last person to do it was Jerome Robbins in 1961,though as Steve pointed out Harold Russell did as well.The last person to be nominated the same year they won was Laurence Olivier.

And I agree with Glenn here-Jane was wonderful.Goodall's such a compelling presence that the talking heads even give off a freshness that that format has lacked in recent documentaries.I'm rooting pretty hard for it to take the Oscar.

December 12,2017 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

I always thought Meryl Streep would be the perfect casting choice to play Jane Goodall in a biopic.

December 12,2017 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

@Steve_Man and @Raul: Oops!Sorry Steve!I guess my attention was immediately called by the @Harold Russell.I should pay more attention.;)

December 12,2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

I should add that JANE is not my personal choice - that'd be STRONG ISLAND from the 15 long-list - but I'd be very happy with a win for it.FACES PLACES i just can't quite get behind as a winner.I know people love Varda whether it be for her films or just because she's so quirky and un-attached to the American film scene,but it's not her strongest work and feels awfully quaint compared to many of the other films (even JANE) in contention.It's cute.

December 12,2017 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Can we hav a tie w both Jane n Faces,Places?No tie in this cat before?

December 12,2017 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Agnes Varda will be the sentimental and the deserving victor.Her documentary is sui genesis,personal yet universal.The others are fine but traditional.

Imagine the outflowing of emotions among AMPAS members and others there when she moves through the audience to the stage to claim her statuette,likely the last member of the Nouvelle Vague to be so recognized.

December 12,2017 | Unregistered CommenterPete

Agree with everyone who root forVisages Villagesas best documentary.Team Varda here for sure.The docu is as beautiful as her other docus where the scale is both intimate and grand -- but in a different scales of economies: how the personal is imbricated in the large-scale lifeworld.Each of us has a favourite based on our subjective version of what's beautiful.I will be happy forJaneif it wins (although I have not seen it) but will be happier with Varda and JR going to the stage to collect their Oscars.亚博主页

December 12,2017 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

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