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Grizzly Man

Old 08-13-05, 06:06 PM
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Grizzly Man

http://www.grizzlyman.com/

I just checked this out today. I remember reading about it last Summer when he died, but I didn't really know much else about it. It's a pretty cool documentary, made by Werner Herzog, based mostly on the 100 hours of video footage left behind by Treadwell, intercut with interviews with people who were close to him.

Whether you agree with what he was doing or not, it's a fascinating look into the 13 years Treadwell spent with the bears.
Old 08-13-05, 07:09 PM
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I consider Herzog to be one of the greatest living directors and all the reviews I've read so far have been very positive, so I'll definitely have to check this out. Sadly it doesn't come out here in Utah until September 16th.
Old 08-13-05, 07:11 PM
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saw this last night. it is not the film advertised in the trailer. this is an examination of a failed actor feeling rejected by society that let his good intentions for the bears build into a narcissistic obsession that eventually destroyed him. do not go into this expecting a film that will validate a sense of universal harmony between man and nature. this is about nature's hostility and indifference.

and if you can help it, see this with as small an audience as possible (or wait for the DVD) because the people interviewed are, frankly, a bunch of oddballs, causing alot of inappropriate laughter in a large audience.

Last edited by Cygnet74; 08-13-05 at 07:21 PM.
Old 08-13-05, 07:26 PM
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Primetime Live did a piece on Treadwell this past Thursday. Anyone else see it?
Old 08-14-05, 01:07 PM
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I can't wait to see this for most of the reasons Cygnet mentions. If it was purely a nature movie it might bore me after awhile, but seeing how this nutball behaved for so many years around the bears makes it better than just about any fiction I could conjure up.
Old 08-14-05, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by atlantamoi
I can't wait to see this for most of the reasons Cygnet mentions. If it was purely a nature movie it might bore me after awhile, but seeing how this nutball behaved for so many years around the bears makes it better than just about any fiction I could conjure up.
he's not entirely a nutjob, but he definitely crosses an invisible line. in fact, what makes the film interesting is that there is a clear debate at hand between "universal harmony" and "chaos/indifference". on the surface, the latter seems most prevelant, but there are moments that suggest that some sort of balance or harmony does exist. keep an eye out for the blowing wind, the connection he makes with a pair of foxes, etc.

Spoiler:
btw, it is interesting to note that he was not attack by one of his bears, they were hibernating. he was attacked by an old, starved bear that had just moved into the area.


anyway, i re-read my earlier post and realized that i was making this film look one-sided. it is more complex than that. yes, he let his love for nature blind him to the danger (or did he? you'll see what i mean), but he also tapped into something in the natural world that few people even imagine.

Last edited by Cygnet74; 08-15-05 at 12:01 PM.
Old 08-15-05, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Cygnet74
but he also tapped into something in the natural world that few people even imagine.
Well, you have more insight since you've seen it, but ANYONE who spends that much time next to wild grizzly bears is NOT firing on all cylinders. Certainly, there is goodness in nature, but there's also quite a bit of "red tooth and claw".
Old 08-15-05, 11:09 AM
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Interesting comments, not what I expected to hear about this movie. Guess I just assumed it would be a standard doc. I'm going to a screening this Wednesday and will post afterwards.
Old 08-15-05, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by atlantamoi
Well, you have more insight since you've seen it, but ANYONE who spends that much time next to wild grizzly bears is NOT firing on all cylinders. Certainly, there is goodness in nature, but there's also quite a bit of "red tooth and claw".
right. although treadwell claimed to be aware of the danger he was in, he also seemed to think he was in control. i don't know if he was or not. probably not, but consider that he was killed by a bear that was old, starved and, most importantly, new to the area. mr. chocolate and the others had gone into hibernation. this new bear hadn't developed a familiarity with Treadwell. whether that means anything is up for endless debate. and the debate isn't easily split between what treadwell largely believes (universal harmony) and what herzog believes (chaos, indifference, murder). for example, at one moment in the film, it is Herzog that points out a moment of intangible harmonious beauty that goes unnoticed by Treadwell.

Last edited by Cygnet74; 08-15-05 at 12:18 PM.
Old 08-15-05, 01:42 PM
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There was a very good interview with Herzog on Fresh Air a couple of weeks back about this movie. I recommend it. Still haven't seen the actual film yet.
Old 08-15-05, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Cygnet74
saw this last night. it is not the film advertised in the trailer. this is an examination of a failed actor feeling rejected by society that let his good intentions for the bears build into a narcissistic obsession that eventually destroyed him. do not go into this expecting a film that will validate a sense of universal harmony between man and nature. this is about nature's hostility and indifference.

and if you can help it, see this with as small an audience as possible (or wait for the DVD) because the people interviewed are, frankly, a bunch of oddballs, causing alot of inappropriate laughter in a large audience.
Is this movie not intended to be at all funny (even in a dark way)? I haven't seen it, but I just caught the E&R review -- they both loved it, but pointed out there's a likely intentional thread of black humor in it.
Old 08-15-05, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by brainee
Is this movie not intended to be at all funny (even in a dark way)? I haven't seen it, but I just caught the E&R review -- they both loved it, but pointed out there's a likely intentional thread of black humor in it.
Originally Posted by Cygnet74
and if you can help it, see this with as small an audience as possible (or wait for the DVD) because the people interviewed are, frankly, a bunch of oddballs, causing alot of inappropriate laughter in a large audience.
Well, there were lots of moments that I think were intentional humor. Things that Treadwell himself would laugh at, I believe. There were also some moments where people laughed at things that wouldn't have been funny to him, I think. One moment gets a HUGE reaction from the crowd, at Treadwell's expense, and you have to assume that Herzog put it there knowing it'd get that reaction.

There are interviewees that are kind of wacky themselves and get some laughs. It didn't seem like awkward laughter and I didn't have a problem with people laughing, I was chuckling too.

Of course, I'd ALWAYS recommend seeing a film with as small an audience as possible, regardless of the film.
Old 08-15-05, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by monkeyboy
Well, there were lots of moments that I think were intentional humor. Things that Treadwell himself would laugh at, I believe. There were also some moments where people laughed at things that wouldn't have been funny to him, I think. One moment gets a HUGE reaction from the crowd, at Treadwell's expense, and you have to assume that Herzog put it there knowing it'd get that reaction.

There are interviewees that are kind of wacky themselves and get some laughs. It didn't seem like awkward laughter and I didn't have a problem with people laughing, I was chuckling too.

Of course, I'd ALWAYS recommend seeing a film with as small an audience as possible, regardless of the film.
maybe it was just my audience. there were definitely intentional laughs, but my audience laughed at everything!!! including the name of the farm he work on, the pilot singing at the end, the woman receiving treadwell's watch taken from the bear's stomach, and anything that may have tipped off on treadwell's perceived homosexuality -- and not just giggles, the whole theater erupted in laughter as though we were watching wedding crashers.

Last edited by Cygnet74; 08-15-05 at 04:47 PM.
Old 08-16-05, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Cygnet74
maybe it was just my audience. there were definitely intentional laughs, but my audience laughed at everything!!! including the name of the farm he work on, the pilot singing at the end, the woman receiving treadwell's watch taken from the bear's stomach, and anything that may have tipped off on treadwell's perceived homosexuality -- and not just giggles, the whole theater erupted in laughter as though we were watching wedding crashers.
Oh, I see, that's pretty lame then. The gay stuff was the only moment where people really erupted into laughter in my screening. Other than that, there were chuckles at some of the interview subjects at times, mainly the coroner and the state park guy. I'm not sure what was laughable about the watch scene, other than just the plain absurdity of where it came from.
Old 08-16-05, 02:56 AM
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i've noticed that people tend to laugh at things that make them uncomfortable. it's like they get confused and don't know what to do, and like sitcom-trained monkeys they rely on the old fallback: the laughtrack.

it's also a very safe thing to do, to keep it at arm's length. if you find everything funny, you cannot be vulnerable or "weak." if you laugh at something scary, or something sad, it means that it has not effected you; you are above it. i think that's really sad, personally (and now i'm going to laugh as to snuff any real emotion).


having said that, many moments in this film are very funny and absurd. i can understand a movie like this having many instances of laughter than you found inappropriate; at the same time, i bet you laughed at a thing or two someone else thought was not funny. this is that type of film. it has a rather insane, chaotic energy (and not the shallow MTV kind, obviously).

and having said all that: this is the first *great* film i've seen this year. unlike anything else you'll see. i was able to see it right after sundance and have been telling people about it ever since. unfortunately i mostly got strange looks. hopefully people can now discover it for themselves.
Old 08-16-05, 03:30 PM
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I think he was a fool. Period.

Here is the reason. While watching the Prime Time live special, one scene stuck out for me. He let his new girlfriend sit right next to one of these bears all alone while he filmed.

If he thinks he is in control, why would he do that? If that bear wanted to, it could have ripped her to shreds before he could do anything.

Personally, I think he was irresponsible and it is a bad example to teach kids.
Old 08-16-05, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by RockStrongo
I think he was a fool. Period.

Here is the reason. While watching the Prime Time live special, one scene stuck out for me. He let his new girlfriend sit right next to one of these bears all alone while he filmed.

If he thinks he is in control, why would he do that? If that bear wanted to, it could have ripped her to shreds before he could do anything.

Personally, I think he was irresponsible and it is a bad example to teach kids.
major spoilers...
Spoiler:
by the time she was joining him on trips, he was 13 years (summers) into his obsessive narcissism which was increasingly blinding him year to year. in the Herzog documentary, a suggestion is gently posed that he may have returned there to die. his summer expedition was over and he had left. but under great stress (i dont remember from what) he was compelled to go back there with his girlfriend, even though all the bears he knew would be hibernating. not necessarily with the intent to get himself killed, but the stress he was under could have been fueling "suicidal tendencies".
Old 08-16-05, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by RockStrongo
I think he was a fool. Period.
If he thinks he is in control, why would he do that? If that bear wanted to, it could have ripped her to shreds before he could do anything.
Well, it COULD have ripped her to shreds, but it didn't. Lots of bears over those 13 years COULD have ripped him to shreds, but didn't. I didn't see the tv special, so I can't speak as to what was shown there, but it's obvious from watching the film that he was able to handle himself out there and the bears seemed to have some sort of mutual respect for him. Herzog dismisses it by saying that the bears looked at him as some sort of mentally challenged person, but it seemed fairly obvious from the footage, that the bears didn't mind his company.

I think the guy was misguided, but regardless of what his real reasons for doing this were, I believe he was trying to do a good thing. He spoke and showed his footage all over the world and no doubt had an effect on people. His girlfriend knew what she was getting into. She took a risk going out there, even more than him because they weren't familiar with her.

In the end, they were killed by a strange bear, who appeared to be starving somewhat. The mistake Treadwell made was not leaving when he was originally scheduled to leave. He was out of the wilderness and ready to board an Alaskan Air flight when he had a run in with an employee and decided not to fly out that day. Once again, his girlfriend, who admittedly was afraid of bears, decided to stay, and go back out to the grizzly maze, instead of leaving.

When it comes down to it, his awkwardness with society is probably what killed him, not his time in the wilds of Alaska. Had he flown out when he originally intended to, he'd be back out there right now.
Old 08-17-05, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by monkeyboy
Well, it COULD have ripped her to shreds, but it didn't. Lots of bears over those 13 years COULD have ripped him to shreds, but didn't.
My point was, if he thinks he had any type of control, he was an idiot. He didnt. The bears controlled everything. They allowed him to stay there and they eventually killed him.

It was very selfish of him to try and intrude on their world.
Old 08-17-05, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by chente
There was a very good interview with Herzog on Fresh Air a couple of weeks back about this movie. I recommend it. Still haven't seen the actual film yet.

I'll have to check that out, thanks for the head's up.

The screening I saw this film at: Discovery's Channel's annual Documentary Film Festival (Silverdocs) both Werner Herzog and Jewel Palovak did a post screening Q&A - which was quite fascinating in of itself.
Old 08-17-05, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by RockStrongo
My point was, if he thinks he had any type of control, he was an idiot. He didnt. The bears controlled everything. They allowed him to stay there and they eventually killed him.
i think you need to see the film before making that judgement. it sounds like the special you saw was very 'selective' in the footage they showed.
Old 08-17-05, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Cygnet74
i think you need to see the film before making that judgement. it sounds like the special you saw was very 'selective' in the footage they showed.
I agree. See the movie before saying that he has "no control". There are plenty of examples in the film where he tells bears that are walking up to him to "go away", and they do. Sure, he didn't have total control over them or anything, but he wasn't just some silly, unprepared fool running around with bears either.
Old 08-17-05, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Cygnet74
i think you need to see the film before making that judgement. it sounds like the special you saw was very 'selective' in the footage they showed.
Your right, I havent seen the movie, but Ive read a few articles about him and have seen some of his footage on Discovery (not to mention the Prime Time Special that was mentioned). I have a good idea of what he was about.

I dont think the movie will change my mind, but I do plan on seeing it.
Old 08-17-05, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by monkeyboy
Sure, he didn't have total control over them or anything, but he wasn't just some silly, unprepared fool running around with bears either.
I still think he was irresponsible and not in control. I dont need to see the movie to know that. Ive seen enough material and read enough about him. This story intrigued me when it actually happened so I read up about it.

I equate some of his behavior to Steve Irwin exposing his baby to the crocs.
Old 08-17-05, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by RockStrongo
I equate some of his behavior to Steve Irwin exposing his baby to the crocs.
Well, the difference is that Irwin's baby doesn't have a choice. Treadwells girlfriend did. I'm not saying that what they did was a good idea. I just don't think it's quite accurate to say that he had absolutelty NO control. I don't think it was dumb luck that he survived 13 Summers out there. He was able to deter bears that became aggressive or curious and get close to him. You see quite a few examples in the film where he commands bear to get away from him. You have to admit some sort of control there.

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