Grizzly ManDirector: Werner Herzog
Filmmaker Werner Herzog adds another real-life character to his growing pantheon of people who walk a fine line between visionary genius and madness in this documentary. Timothy Treadwell was a self-styled authority on bears who, starting in 1990, would spend as much time as possible each year in Alaska, camping out near a grizzly bear habitat. While Treadwell claimed… See more details below
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Filmmaker Werner Herzog adds another real-life character to his growing pantheon of people who walk a fine line between visionary genius and madness in this documentary. Timothy Treadwell was a self-styled authority on bears who, starting in 1990, would spend as much time as possible each year in Alaska, camping out near a grizzly bear habitat. While Treadwell claimed to love the bears and felt as one with them, he had no formal training in their behavior, and while familiarizing himself with the creatures he would walk within a few feet of them with a video camera in hand. To many, Treadwell seemed part man of nature, part conjuror, and part self-promotion expert, but the part that guided his kinship with the bears failed him in 2003, when he and his girlfriend were killed in a grizzly attack. Treadwell shot hundreds of hours of footage of himself and the grizzlies, and Herzog has used this footage as the core of Grizzly Man, a documentary look at Treadwell's life and death, while also including interviews with people who knew him, animal experts, and scientists. Acclaimed British guitarist Richard Thompson composed and performed the film's musical score.
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Cast & Crew
|Larry Van Daele||Participant|
|Kevin Beggs||Executive Producer|
|Alana Berry||Associate Producer|
|Billy Campbell||Executive Producer|
|Jessica Dejong||Production Manager|
|Phil Fairclough||Executive Producer|
|Ken King||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Tom Koykka||Production Manager|
|Andrea Meditch||Executive Producer|
|Erik Nelson||Executive Producer|
|Tom Ortenberg||Executive Producer|
|Spence Palermo||Sound/Sound Designer|
1. Prime Cut [2:48]
2. Majestic Creatures [3:51]
3. Celebrity [1:31]
4. The Worst [1:00]
5. Willy Fulton [7:50]
6. Children of the Universe [5:35]
7. Foxes [4:51]
8. Boundaries [3:20]
9. Death Watch [3:25]
10. Grizzly People [2:12]
11. Filmmaker [4:15]
12. Confessional [5:54]
13. All Alone [5:34]
14. Audio Tape [1:53]
15. Bear Fight [5:22]
16. Into the Wild [1:09]
17. Parents [4:18]
18. Self Invention [2:22]
19. Love and Chaos [4:21]
20. Miracle Rain [5:30]
21. Poachers [2:45]
22. Park Rant [3:22]
23. Funeral [4:01]
24. Death Trip [3:36]
25. Bear 141 [3:48]
26. Last Frames [3:50]
27. Treadwell Is Gone [1:05]
1. Main Title/Convocation [9:33]
2. Set Your Foot Down [4:22]
3. Funeral [2:06]
4. Fox Hunt [3:51]
5. Drunken Cowboy [4:49]
6. Harmony of Man & Beast [2:43]
7. Prepared Piano [4:05]
8. Cello Duet [4:33]
9. Bear Fight [2:44]
10. Ghosts in the Maze [3:36]
11. Precision Work [5:46]
12. Pibrock [4:07]
13. End Credits [1:26]
In the Edges: The Grizzly Man Session
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I think some of the reviewers here are missing the point. Herzog (a director whose works have typically explored ambition, madness and the fine line that separates insanity from genius)wants us to examine the motives and drives of Treadwell foremost, and the world of his bears only secondarily. It is, as one reviewer suggested, akin to watching a "trainwreck"-- but Herzog raises important and insightful questions for those who can get beyond the offensive language and the maniacal rantings of Treadwell. We live in a culture that has, thanks to Disney and a slew of recent movies featuring "cute" animated inhabitants of the wild, romanticized and commercialized the forces of nature. "Grizzly Man" is a sobering counter-point that reminds us that nature can be harsh, chaotic, and cruel, often unfolding on its own terms, not ours. It also warns those of us who presume that we can readily mold nature to satisfy our deeply personal desires.
I'm not sure why many of the reviewers here have such low opinions of this film. Some even seem angry. I think this is one of the better documentaries out there. Werner Herzog is a thoughtful and intelligent narrator, and a genius film maker. Watching one of his documentaries and listening to his narration makes you feel like you have access to privileged information. This is a great film.
What would motivate a film crew to focus on cheap shock value of the detailed description of the way the body parts looked like when found or the sounds of the screams as people are torn to bits by a bear? Why call it a documentary? There is no balanced measurement of the value of his work against the failures of his work. The majority of focus is on the failures of his work and what it is like to see a man go crazy from isolation in the wilderness. The filmmakers interpret the meanings to his words for us instead of giving us credit to decide for ourselves. They criticize him for not being a good camera man and then they use only his film. There is a big empty whole where the artistic documentary about his WORK would have gone, that would have made the time spent watching this cheap thrill worthwhile. This is nothing more than a great Halloween tale. There was no time line of history or interviews to explain events or what he was referring to when he spoke. We are just supposed to guess what happened that day. The movie leaves much room for a fresh film maker to answer the questions unanswered by this horror film disguised as a documentary film. The trailer does not accurately reveil the focus of the film.
It is an interesting movie to watch. It is hard to know if Timothy is a very bold, courageous animal lover who found his true calling among the Grizzlies or if he is a delusional, somewhat extreme naive whacko who did not help these great predators cause by not taking the precautions necessary to ensure his safety and that of his girlfriend, Ms Huguenard. His films are unique and beautiful, show the great natural beauty of the park and the wildlife in Alaska on one hand, but also show his tragic end and his rantings and ravings and cursing, which is the why of the ratings. I don't regret having bought the video, on one hand having some topic for conversation among friends on this video and also enjoying the film videos he made and the courage or craziness of his being so close to these wild, dangerous and beautiful animals. Personally, I love nature and his travels did give us some unique takes on nature and wildlife. For that I would recommend the tape
The only redeeming feature of this item is its breathtaking scenes of the magnificent bears, foxes, and Alaskan landscape. The language is so offensive I wanted to turn off the sound entirely just to get away from the incessant use of the f--- words. I definitely will never watch this movie again. I grant Treadwell the freedom to believe whatever and live however he desires, but he presents a prime example of a totally naturalistic and humanistic worldview in which he is the absolute center of attention. He sees himself as the Savior of these powerful beasts and presumes to know what's best for them, the Park Service, and the whole government. He denies the existence of God, yet he curses Him in nearly every sentence and he "prays" obscenely to Him when there has not been enough rainfall to satisfy his own idea of how things should be. All in all, it is a thoroughly disappointing, frequently disgusting, and offensive piece of work.
I thought Grizzly Man was a very thought provoking film. Treadwell was a lover of animals and extremely dedicated his work. You don't have to look very far to see this man was passionate about what he believed in. His footage is great and his story speaks for itself.
Completely recommended. A truly inspirational story about an inspirational person. The film not only has some of the best bear footage ever filmed, but also lets you look into the life of Timothy Treadwell.
One thinks, first of all, of Winged Migration, and the sheer reverence with which its subject was treated...or of the equally powerful March of the Penguins, which was both riveting and evocative. One thinks of Marlon Perkins, the authoritative voice of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom one's mind even briefly jumps to the Discovery Channel's various Animal Planet shows and the silliness that reigns there. But Grizzly Man, sadly, is none of these. In spite of Werner Herzog's editing and his loving, careful narration, in spite of the utterly inspired scoring by Richard Thompson, the inescapable conclusion is that this film is a breathtaking presentation of incredible footage that has unfortunately been wrapped around a lunatic's home movies. On the surface Grizzly Man is a documentary, a record of the life and the death of Timothy Treadwell, self-proclaimed "protector" of the wild bears of the Alaskan peninsula. Somehow, Treadwell managed to spend thirteen summers with these Alaskan grizzlies without being either seriously mauled or eaten. Somehow, in spite of breaking every rule even small children are taught about cute looking, but nonetheless dangerous wild animals, Treadwell went unscathed. Somehow, he talked a woman, Amie Huguenard, to accompany him on his last two month foray into the wilds and somehow their luck ran out when a rouge bear attacked and killed them both. On the surface this seems to be a compelling story, but the claim to documentation quickly breaks down when it is revealed that it is not documentarian Herzog's footage we are seeing, but rather Treadwell's self-indulgent, quiet often juvenile, largely self-made movies. In short order the notion of this story being at all compelling also fades, as Treadwell's delusions and psychotic behavior rapidly obscure the beauty of what he is allegedly trying to protect. From the hundred or more hours of film that Treadwell left behind, Herzog fashions a story of sorts. It is clear from his narration that Herzog developed an emotional bond with his subject and more than once he surrenders all objectivity completely. Yet he is also honest enough to present, at the film's beginning at least, the unvarnished opinions of several who knew Treadwell either personally or by reputation. The opinions are not complimentary. To those whose business is the Alaskan wilds and the animals that inhabit it, Treadwell was a cross between a dilettante and a nut case, dangerously out of touch with reality, a danger to himself and, ironically, a danger to the animals he claimed to protect. These pointed opinions, however, are not only more than balanced by loving paeans to Treadwell's heart, soul, spirituality and "mission," but by the movie's end they replace any objectivity completely. Worse still, one of the central testimonials is offered by a woman who seems only slightly more tightly wrapped than Treadwell himself was. But beyond this, it is simply too much for all but the most saccharine of environmentally conscious viewers to take Treadwell seriously. His moods swing from the serious to the childish, from the petty to the pompous. He rants, raves, curses and swears at enemies unseen. He talks of people who want to hurt him and, when tourists attracted to the very notoriety he himself has created leave a greeting and a smiley face on a rock near his campsite, he murmurs knowingly of dark conspiracies. He wants his audience to share his reverence, but then spoils it all by worshiping at a steaming pile of bear dung. Again, it is all too much. More disturbing, however, is the sense one develops of Treadwell's essential dishonesty. He speaks of being alone, totally and irredeemably alone, when in fact the camera is being held by Huguenard. More damning, he brought her along but completely ignores her in his narration. He talks repeatedly of the difficulty of the "work," but in fact no real work is ever anywhere to be seen.
I found Grizzly Man both disturbing and painful to watch - while being neither inspiring or redeeming. One feels as though they are watching a slow motion train wreck in progress, which of course, proves to be the case. Treadwell is a lost social soul seeking peace, purpose, and understanding among the bears. The audience becomes a reticent voyeur in his journey -- watching Treadwell's attempt at self-catharsis through communing with these bears in their wilderness, being dragged along through his struggle with a variety of emotional demons, witnessing his delusions of self-inflated purpose and dictated importance to these bears, and ultimately, being forced to observe his descent toward death over the course of 13 summers (fully narrated along the way). I likewise felt the movie exploited Treadwell's story for gain..... while pitifully attempting to masquerade as a sympathetic eulogy and human interest story. The movie itself is otherwise technically well-made, and would likely serve as an interesting case-study to both psychologists and psychiatrists, but I do not find any redeeming social value in either Treadwell's intent or misguided endeavors, the promotion or suggestion that his misguided endeavors were somehow noble or served some higher purpose (getting oneself and a friend killed - for no reason?), or the movie itself relative to its content or purpose. I do recommend that one watch Grizzly Man simply to be in the "know", and of course, in order to draw your own conclusions, as many people actually enjoyed it. But I highly suggest you think and anticipate: TRAIN WRECK, and NOT FOR KIDS (... for many reasons other than just the language component).
Treadwell purported to be a kindred spirit and protector of bears, but after viewing this documentary, it's pretty clear he was a self-invented, self-serving thrillseeker who ended up exactly as he wished: bear scat. Herzog's documentary is a fascinating, mostly unsympathetic look at a guy who appears to be a collage of contradictory parts, everything from Jane Goodall to Pee Wee Herman. His persona seems particularly rubbery on camera. Treadwell simpers and capers like an 8-year-old in many scenes, then later flips off the world in an f-word-laced rant, revealing a deep-seated anger that surely blew him to his inevitable end on a wind-swept penninsula in The Country. Herzog does a great job of editing the videography and framing a perspective on this complex and confusing individual, who at best was a talented and dedicated amateur naturalist and at worst was a paranoiac, hypocritical poseur who got himself and his girlfriend killed and eaten taking needless risks. I thoroughly disliked Tim Treadwell in this film, but I'm a big fan of Werner Herzog, and "Grizzly People" stayed with me for days after I saw it. The film touches on a lot of what's good and bad in the way people interact with nature. By the way, the bears are Alaskan Brown bears, not Grizzlies, an inconsistency Herzog notes in the narration. That seems to emblemize the essential distortion of Treadwell, whose real name was Dexter.
There was nothing of quality in this home-made movie except for the scenery. It does give you up-close "encounters" with the infamous bears, but much too much photographing of the obscene lunatic who thought he was, in some mysterious way, making a difference for the grizzlies. Do NOT waste your time or money watching this movie. Of course, if you liked "Blair Witch" (surely you didn't!), you might be interested in this one, too. Instead, I suggest you grab a good book to read, such as "I Heard the Owl Call My Name".