In the 1950s, an adolescent Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, forty-eight-hour ... See full summary »
About the daring adventure of exploring rain forest canopy with a novel flying device-the Jungle Airship. Airship engineer Dr. Graham Dorrington embarks on a trip to the giant Kaieteur ... See full summary »
German-American Dieter Dengler discusses his service as an American naval pilot in the Vietnam War. Dengler also revisits the sites of his capture and eventual escape from the hands of the Vietcong, recreating many events for the camera.
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 Treadwell's compassionate life as he found solace among these endangered animals. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Ominously, the foxes are called "Ghost" and "Spirit". See more »
Werner Herzog describes Timothy Treadwell's last tape, while telling his friend never to listen to it, as always being "a White Elephant in the room". "White Elephant" is a different figure of speech from "Elephant in the room". "White Elephant" means an extravagant but useless project; "Elephant in the room" means something unspoken that is nevertheless obvious. 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 »
It would be rather easy and quite comforting to simply label Timothy Treadwell as a delusional crackpot who ultimately received his just deserts. Treadwell's woefully naive idealism coupled with his willful rejection of the most basic realities of his natural surroundings make him a rather wieldy target for even those with terrible aim. Treadwell's inability to anticipate the inevitable consequences of his actions has been interpreted by many to signify the man's complete separation from any resemblance of realism and sensibility, thus marking his extensive efforts as purely frivolous and futile. But by merely dismissing the man's Utopian vision of a harmonious existence between humankind and nature, we're ultimately doing a great disservice to ourselves as well. Werner Herzog, one of the cinematic world's preeminent cynical jackasses, was able to both understand and empathize with Treadwell's contorted optimism, refusing to conveniently sticker Tim as some sort of brain damaged, new-age spiritualist. Herzog discovered inside of Treadwell's madness an alluringly gullible romanticism that carefully shielded a secluded demonic realism. Treadwell's refusal to succumb to the demands of our world's primitive natural order clearly fascinated Herzog just as much as Tim's secretively smoldering fixation with the indigenous inhumanity of the unforgiving material world.
Herzog ingeniously incorporates Treadwell's tangential metaphysical ruminations into the movie in order to communicate his own conflicting philosophical perspectives while also conveying a semblance of sympathy and familiarity, if not outright accordance as well. Herzog immediately empathizes with Treadwell's desire to search for some higher meaning beyond the discernible limits of both sanity and security, but does not fail to readily concede the enigmatic stupidity of Timothy's misguided enthusiasm as well. In many respects, the movie explores many similarities between Treadwell's adventurous pursuits and Herzog's well-documented desire to impose his own will on the natural world. For all of Herzog's pontificating on nature's unmistakable indifference, such confessed naturalism has never stopped the man from attempting to conquer these impartial forces through sheer fierce determination. Similarly for Treadwell, even the unequivocal evidence suggesting the inapplicability of his philosophical disposition (the murder of a baby fox, the infanticide of a baby cub, instances of cannibalism during an extended drought) is not enough to dissuade him from the attractiveness of his hallucinatory insistence on the beauty and simplicity of the natural wilderness. While Herzog mocks and scolds Treadwell for his blatant ignorance with regards to the childlike Quixotism of his pilgrimage, he also seems to secretly admire him for his refusal to conform to others' expectations, even when all the impulses of the universe seem to be conspiring against him. Like Aguirre and Fitzcarraldo, Herzog is able to extract carefully hidden noble qualities buried within a man of very questionable character.
In many respects, Timothy Treadwell's quest for natural harmony was an unattainable search for spiritual absolution as well as social vindication. Herzog shows great respect for Treadwell's intense desire to discover a sense of place and purpose within a higher immaterial order, while similarly displaying affection for Timothy's corporeal drive to convincingly demonstrate both his superiority and masculinity to all of those who had expressed doubts and engaged in interference. Herzog has always reserved his greatest admiration for those great historical figures who have unleashed their greatest ambitions upon the natural world around them, and Treadwell is clearly no exception. But this is not because of some juvenile fascination with conquest and subjugation; Herzog's veneration has always been directed towards the instinctual human passion to satisfy one's greatest aspirations, forces of the uncaring universe be damned. Treadwell's absurd eagerness to prove the feasibility of his ideological utopia is sufficient enough to earn Herzog's qualified approbation, but it is not practical enough to stave off Herzog's equally powerful adherence to rational skepticism. Just as Herzog ultimately recognized the folly of Aguirre's ways, Timothy Treadwell is similarly depicted as a man who has become so lost within his untamed search for grandeur that he has forgotten the very purpose of his once innocent expedition.
Many people have taken issue with this back and forth dialogue between Herzog and Treadwell, bemoaning the use of voice-over narration as manipulative, theatrical and unnecessary. Many people have accused the movie of being quite staged and overtly fictional, while needlessly abandoning the most basic purpose of Treadwell's adventure in order to posit some hackneyed, sophomoric philosophical dichotomy that was completely beyond Timothy's intentions and perhaps comprehension as well. But without Herzog's added abstract speculations, Treadwell's undertakings lose a great deal of larger significance and withstanding permanence. Without Herzog interjecting his own balanced suppositions, we're unable to see just how Treadwell's acts of defiance are not only acts of pure lunacy, but acts of poignant proclivity as well. It would indeed be easy to categorize Treadwell's activities as little more than the product of years of alcohol and drug abuse coupled with prolonged bouts of frustration and isolation, but it is infinitely more difficult to recognize his actions as a manifestation of a much deeper, exclusively human predilection to create meaning in one's life by imposing order upon one's natural surroundings. Werner Herzog's (and it is Werner Herzog's) Grizzly Man is not only a fervent rebuke of the unfeasible insanity of Timothy Treadwell's hopeless optimism, but also a tempered celebration of humanity's imperishable stubbornness, arrogance, and inspiring audacity.
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