Watched a rather odd movie...

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....this weekend: Grizzly Man. It's a documentary by Warner Herzog about the life of Timothy Treadwell, the Grizzly Man of the title. Treadwell spent 13 summers living with the grizzly bears. He saw himself as the bears' advocate, protector, and true love. At the end of the 13th summer, both he and his girlfriend were killed and eaten (yes, eaten!) by a bear.

Treadwell seems to have started out with good intentions. He lived with the bears during the summers, then spent the winters giving free talks at schools and setting up conservation type programs. But my sense is that as time went on, he became more and more weird about what he was doing and his ability, because of his self-described "grizzly mojo", to live among untameable predators.

However, no matter what Treadwell THOUGHT he was doing with his videotapes of himself and the bears, the viewer comes to realize that the tapes were never really about the BEARS. They were really about Timothy Treadwell. As the tapes reach the final days of Treadwell's life, it is obvious to the viewer that this is a man slipping further and further into delusion. Probably a good textbook for a student of psychology!

You feel pity for him, in a way. But at the same time, it is impossible not to smack your head with your hand and yell at the screen, "You idiot! What did you THINK would happen!" I suppose it is a testament to the documentary maker that you can think both of these things. I remain confused by Treadwell. I never got to the point of some reviewers, who basically took the line, "Come on bears! Let's eat this idiot and get it over with!" But he is impossible to LIKE.

So I can't quite make up my mind about this movie. Not even whether I really liked it or not. Stephen Greydanus has a more coherent take on it than I do, and you can read his review here.


i loved this movie and was haunted by it at the same time. after i watched it the first time, i had dreams about "treadwell" -- wanting to save him. but then . . . anyone who names himself "tread well" and prefers bears to people and sleeps with stuffed animals past the age of, oh say, twenty, and thinks a pile of warm dung is akin to a religious experience and has a distrubing god complex needs way more saving than i could have ever offered.
i may prefer the little mini-documentary about the making of the soundtrack.

Was it isolation that made him crazy or was he crazy to begin with....
I think he was a little off and crazy to begin with. It was mentioned that he was manic-depressive.

I found it facinating...kinda like watching a train wreck.

I wonder about his girlfriend. Did she stay to protect him? Or was she just devoted?

He was so delusional about the fact that he was protecting the bears.

We would look at one another and ask.

"What is he protecting them from?"

Sad man. Very sad man.



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This page contains a single entry by MamaT published on May 15, 2006 8:48 AM.

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