1/07/2016

The Rules of Documentary - Grizzly Man


A film about Timothy Treadwell, he spent thirteen summers with grizzly bears before eventually being killed by one in 2003. Timothy only started to film the expeditions for the last five yeas of his life, he filmed the environment around him trying to show all the animals he encountered in their natural habitat, later using the footage for kids education. Werner Herzog the director of the film uses Timothys footage with interviews of friends and family. There is a lot of controversy in that comes from the interviews, there are people that believe he was doing the right thing, not harming anyone by being with the bears and there are others that thought he was disrupting the bears lives and interfering in a already safe place. During Timothy's time out with the bears he tried to become a mythological hero among the bears, alone and fighting against poachers. His true love for these creatures and want to be one of them carries the story more than his message and more than what eventually happened to him. This was a man that truly believed the bears were friends and they understood one another.

The film may come across as a normal nature documentary, but after viewing it you realise it's more about Timothy. His love for these bears is childish and from the outside it looks crazy, Timothy was saying he was a warrior and guardian of the bears, while the bears were in a protected sanctuary and poachers were extremely rare. Herzog places clips together so that we are able to truly understand how much Timothy loved these creatures but how much he was also loosing his human side.

Werner Herzog presents this documentary without any bias, he does give is opinion on Timothy and his footage but in the most honest way. Herzog seemingly respects Timothy's footage and what he was trying to accomplish, when people in the interviews say Timothy did more harm than good Herzog argues it claiming Timothy's footage was something to be admired, he said this even though others may not understand or ever agree with Timothy's thoughts about the bears, there will always have to be respect for a man dedicating so much of his life in the wilderness for the education of others.

Herzog is able to create a understanding of Timothy, it's the special selection of footage he shows throughout, starting from a person we could all relate to, to someone withdrawing from reality, to someone who has lost touch and becomes a mystery. At most points its clear Herzog doesn't approve of what Timothy was really doing, but it was important to show multiple views on him, even so, the editing of the film does push the audience in a particular directions and the interviews adding to the overall tone.

Shown throughout are beautiful shots of nature, that without Timothy has a odd eeriness to them, it was always clear that this was not about nature, but about Timothy and his character changing.

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