Grizzly Man

Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005)

Continuing with my Festival of Disgusting Films, I watched Gummo (Harmony Korine, 1997) last night. It’s a bit more serious than Pink Flamingos, but also more random, less structured, and only accidentally disgusting. I seriously think Korine is insane.

As is the subject of Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005). But Herzog likes weird subjects – and actors (cf. Klaus Kinski) so it’s a natural for him. I wish I’d noticed before the credits that the music is by Richard Thompson: I would have given it some attention.

One of the most surprising things about critical commentaries on Grizzly Man (2005) is their tendency to treat Werner Herzog as the film’s unquestioned author, despite much of it having been shot by somebody else.
I am not suggesting this emphasis is unjust. On the contrary, Herzog’s role in shaping and narrating those videos he acquired from the estate of Timothy Treadwell, the grizzly bear activist who posthumously became this documentary’s subject, clearly renders him principal creator of the result, which reflects his personality at every point.
At the same time, Treadwell’s material cannot be regarded as simply ‘found footage’, in the sense that this term is applied to works in the avant-garde tradition. Viewing Treadwell’s videos in their original form would obviously not be comparable to encountering them within the explicitly critical framework provided by Herzog, but much of their fascination would undoubtedly be retained. Brad Stevens, Sight and Sound.

Garry Gillard | New: 5 March, 2017 | Now: 17 May, 2019