In the 1950s, a teenage Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, 48 hour fit of rage, ... See full summary »
Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middleclass Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.
A docudrama that centers on amateur grizzly bear expert Timothy Treadwell. He periodically journeyed to Alaska to study and live with the bears. He was killed, along with his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, by a rogue bear in October 2003. The films explores their compassionate lives as they found solace among these endangered animals. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
According to an extra on the DVD about the recording session with Richard Thompson and his fellow musicians, in which Werner Herzog explains a lot about his vision on the taped material, the musicians had to improvise. For instance, underneath the slow fight of two bears you hear the cello and the upright bass menacing, and when Timothy swims with a bear, Herzog explain that this is no harmony as it looks like, but an ultimate dangerous situation. See more »
I'm out in the prime cut of big green. Behind me is Ed and Rowdy, members of an up-and-coming sub-adult gang. They're challenging everything, including me. Goes with the territory. If I show weakness, if I retreat, I may be hurt, I may be killed. I must hold my own if I'm gonna stay within this land. For once there is weakness they will exploit it, they will take me out, they will decapitate me, they will chop me into bits and pieces. I'm dead. But so far, I persevere. Persevere.
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by McDill (as Bob McDill)
Performed by Don Edwards
Courtesy of Universal-Polygram Int. Publ., Inc.
On behalf of itself and Ranger Bob Music (ASCAP), Warner Bros. Records, Inc. by arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing See more »
Anyone who has followed the trajectory of Werner Herzog from the time of "Even Dwarfs Started Small" will understand the immediate appeal that the Treadwell story must have had for this intensely brilliant German director. Treadwell must have seemed to Herzog like a Laguna Beach version of his Fitzcarraldo and his Aguirre and even of Herzog himself in his more unhinged moments. This film appears at first to be a fair minded documentary about Tim Treadwell, the 'protector' of all things natural and wild in the remote regions of Alaska. What Herzog shows us, however, is that what Treadwell really needed protection from was reality itself and that his escape into the wilds was just a deadly game of denial.
The film is also a meditation on the brute force of nature, on art and on human hubris. My wife found the 'character' of Tim Treadwell so ludicrous and offensive that she had to leave the theater. For my part, I was in awe of both Treadwell's incredible physical courage coupled with his absolute lack of judgment and his insane narcissism. He struck me as a cross between Pee-Wee Herman and Marlon Perkins, the guy who narrated the Mutual of Omaha nature documentaries that showed up on Sunday afternoons in the 60's and 70's.
The word is that Hollywood, in the person of Leonardo DiCaprio, was a financial supporter of Treadwell's 'mission'in Alaska and that a Hollywood version of the story is due out sometime soon with Di Caprio playing the lead. I know I won't be going to see that version because it will just continue the lie and the myth that Treadwell tried so hard to create and sustain. Even at his most intense moments of profoundity Treadwell had nothing to 'say' to anyone about either bears or himself. It was all self-serving and self-congratulatory and it is only in his grotesque death at the hands of a rogue grizzly that any meaningful message finally comes across. (Herzog thankfully spares us from the actual experience which was caught on audio but not on video because the lens cap had been left on.)
Its hard not to feel sorry for Tim Treadwell and the young woman who died with him, but the 'native' scientist in the film put it quite nicely "My people have been living nicely with bears for thousands of years and we know enough to stay out of each other's way."
Tim Treadwell wanted desperately to cross the boundary into the 'way' of the bear because the 'way of the human' was too much for him. Despite his goofy, childish demeanor he revealed himself to be a man of deep anger and resentment. However, if the bears had let him live he would probably be considered something of a folk-hero in 'reality' obsessed America.
Herzog shows us that there was nothing real about Treadwell at all and that the bears knew a lot more about him than he ever would of them.
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