Monday, February 06, 2006

Grizzly Man

Where to begin with this one? I mean wow. We have two looneys to contend with here. One is the subject matter of grizzly man Timothy Treadwell, self-proclaimed bear expert who spent 13 summers in Alaska before sucumming to being eaten alive with companion Amie Huguengard. The man is obviously a few sandwiches short of a picnic and although he believes he can get close to and communicate with this wild animals he is sadly delusional. Then we have director Werner Herzog who once ate his own shoe after losing a bet to fellow filmmaker Errol Morris. Three days ago it was reported that Herzog was shot by a crazed fan during a recent interview with the BBC. Herzog was chatting with Mark Kermode about Grizzly Man, when a sniper opened fire with an air rifle. Kermode thought a firecracker had gone off. Herzog said afterwards, "It was not a significant bullet. I am not afraid."

Getting back to the documentary, I found it difficult to watch because it treads that fine line between serious and satirical. I actually had to stop the film and look online to see if this guy really existed and I'm sad to say that he did and everything is true. Treadwell believed he had to go to the bears and protect them - from what I'm not sure because they exist inside a huge unspoilt and uninhabited national park where an airplane is the only means of transport to and from the area where the bears occupy.

We see from his own filming that he is far too emotionally attached to the bears and loses the inate sense of danger that one should feel when close to a 500lb bear that can and obviously will rip you apart and eat you if provoked which on a series of occasions he does. In one scene he approaches a grizzly, pokes it on the nose and then has to back off and give the impression that he does not intend any harm before repeatedly telling the bear that he loves him. Herzog interviews many of his aquantances who frown upon his methods and are all equally surprised that it took 13 years before he was killed.

I am not going to rate this documentary because truth be told I could only tolerate half an hour of this man on screen and from what I gather, a lot of the interviews were staged besides being overally long accounts of Treadwells inadequacies. Instead I've linked below a few links worth checking out.

Timothy's Last Letter
Grizzly People - Website set up by Timothy and his supporters
Treadwell on Wikipedia

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3 Comments:

Blogger Skry said...

Well you've changed your tune since yesterday afternoon, when you brought the film round and insisted we "had to watch at least a bit of it" and that it was "amazing".

Not even rated? An environmentalist bringing nature to the big screen, who is (regretably but quite obviously) slightly mentally unstable/ignorant, makes a funny and insightful documentary where he unwittingly gives up his life and the life of his girlfriend and you don't even give it any claws out of five?

The Wikipedia bit was rather interesting though - I liked the amount of rather independant detail that went into it, where you can tell they wanted to say "The man's a crazy loon about bears" but instead say "Sometimes overpassionate about bears". Excellent!

Also who wants to live until they're old and infirm when you can be happy-slapping bears!

12:36 am  
Blogger Jay Tea said...

I didn't say the film was "amazing" at all. I just said you have to watch a bit of it to see how crazy the guy was and since I didn't watch most of the film I'm not in a position to give it any marks out of 5. If I used the word "amazing" it was probably in regards to how it took so long before the bears got him.

1:06 am  
Blogger Jay Tea said...

http://www.yellowstone-bearman.com/Tim_Treadwell.html

Check this out. It's very detailed and has analysis on the supposed audiotape with Tim and Amie's last 6 minutes.

3:25 am  

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