Friday, June 09, 2006

Grizzly Man

Trev and I watched Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man last night. It's a documentary about Timothy Treadwell, a man who believed he had an understanding with Alaskan grizzly bears, and turned out to be wrong about that. It was not, perhaps, the best time for me to be watching such a film, since (as this blog clearly shows) I've been paranoid and surly due to work stress. In this mode, I was first struck by how much the story resembled the Blair Witch Project -- not only because "the footage was found" (in this case, audio footage) recording the protagonists' deaths, but also the constant nervous chatter, the eerieness of the wilderness landscape (which Treadwell didn't see as eerie), and the brief shot of a bundle of gore amid general restraint on that front.

The best parts of the film, though, are where Herzog comments on Treadwell's filmmaking -- specifically the moments when the film keeps running and Treadwell has left the shot. He is filming himself, usually, so he's off getting ready to run into the frame, or fixing his hair (an obsession), and in the meantime the camera is recording wind blowing through the brush, creating patterns. How often do we see extended shots of a place where there is neither a human nor an animal in the frame?

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