Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Director: Werner Herzog
Renowned nonfiction director Werner Herzog chronicles the tragic and untimely death of outdoorsman Timothy Treadwell, who devoted his life to studying grizzly bears living in the Alaskan wilderness -- only to have one of t... more »
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A pitiful naivete raised to compassionate art
Gordon L. Fuglie | 07/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Largely using Treadwell's own footage of himself in the Alaska wilds, Herzog combines this with his unobtrusive interviews with the principals who knew the errant wild animal lover and self-styled protector. The German director earned the trust of his subjects and they reveal as much about themselves as they do about Treadwell.
Patiently, Herzog edited Treadwell's own footage to let the tragic, delusional story unfold. Make no mistake about it, Grizzly Man is both painful to watch and completely absorbing. Treadwell loves to be on camera in a way that gives one the creeps. In the service of a seemingly noble cause, a disintegrated and finally paranoid Treadwell shows us how little he understands the wilderness he claims to love and the civilization he despises.
During the commentary, I thought I heard Herzog associate Treadwell with other American "loners" like John Muir and Henry David Thoreau. If so, it should be noted that Treadwell is devoid of Thoreau's high principles, discipline and literary gifts. Muir, after all, founded the Sierra Club, and could converse with naturalists and politicians. Neither sentimentalized the natural world and had accomplishments outside of their naturalist activities. And their love of wilderness was grounded in keen observation and metaphysically moored.
A much needed upbeat note in the DVD is given over to a feature showing Herzog's encouragement of the musicians recording the soundtrack. Richard Thompson puts down some mesmerizing licks and tells you about it a warm, engaging manner. After watching Treadwell's solitary antics in Alaska, it was a tonic to see humans working together to make compelling art and enjoying the experience.