Based on the 1903 novella by Henry James, The Beast in the Jungle is an epic love story about a man whose anticipation of his own fate hinders his ability to look beyond himself, and as such, his ability to love. Convinced that his fate is a catastrophe waiting to happen, like a “beast in the jungle”, John Marcher remains obsessed with his destiny, even as he is reacquainted with May Bertram, a woman whose love for him spans across time, distance, and place. It is only upon May’s death that Marcher realizes that the catastrophe waiting to happen was his own inability to reciprocate May’s love.

Transposing time and place, the film is a sensuous experience as it captures the characters unrequited love and ominous secret in a style both physical and poetic. Through dance, Sarah Reynolds (May Bertram) and Dane Hurst (John Marcher) represent their characters relationship and the eternal themes of love, death, loneliness, and fate as they glide through two centuries of their lives. 

Clara van Gool sets the stage in the nineteenth century and closes in the present, from the remote countryside mansion to the modern city. Extending the story through time and placing dance at the center, van Gool dramatizes the themes of James’s novel, exploring the effects of obsessing over one’s fate - gliding through life anticipating “the beast in the jungle” rather than living passionately - in her interpretation of one of James’s foremost works.

Festivals & awards: INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ROTTERDAM – OFFICIAL SELECTIION LIMELIGHT; SFIFF SPOTLIGHT ON DANCE

Subjects: Dance, World Cinema

Institutional Licensing Options

DVD with PPR: $349

Digital Site License: $449

Digital Site License + Public Performance Rights: $499

Institutional Licensing Options

A Film by CLARA VAN GOOL 

Cast SARAH REYNOLDS, DANE JEREMY HURST 

Language ENGLISH 

Length 87 MINUTES 

Genre DRAMA, ROMANCE, DANCE 

Year: 2018