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Environmentalist and documentary maker Timothy Treadwell spent 13 summers on the Alaskan peninsula living among the grizzly bears he loved. His death was as sensational as his life, when he was killed by one of the bears he had spent so much of his life studying and protecting. Werner Herzog has integrated Treadwell's footage with his own narration and interviews.

Review by Louise Keller:
Grizzly Man is an extraordinary documentary about a man who perceived himself as a saviour of bears. With little else but a camera to keep him company, Timothy Treadwell spent years living among the bears in the breathtakingly beautiful Alaskan peninsula region. Finally, he and his girlfriend were violently killed and devoured by a grizzly bear, leaving a few mangled remains. But Treadwell did leave behind over 100 hours of footage that showed not only the bears in their natural habitat, but gave a startling insight into the man himself and his demons.

Treadwell's work had made him into somewhat of a celebrity and we cannot help but be moved when David Letterman asks him in a previously recorded television interview 'Are we going to hear one day you've been eaten by a bear?' Treadwell truly believed no harm could come to him, and that he had the ability to transcend the worlds of both man and beast. He spoke to the camera as if it were his confidant or even a confessional. He wondered aloud what God might think of him and why his relationships with women never lasted. He said he saw himself as a flower, a fly on the wall who occasionally had to become a samurai warrior. He believed himself to be the bears' protector; it never occurred to him he was crossing a line that was strictly taboo.

Treadwell, with his blond hair and child-like expressions, was undoubtedly a troubled man, escaping from a life he did not like. We hear he may have been a manic depressive who would not take his medication. He talked about the bears as though they were part of his family - there was Mr Chocolate, Tabitha and Aunt Melissa. 'He's a big bear... a very big bear' he says with naive enthusiasm. 'I love you,' he told them repeatedly. He also talked to wild foxes, telling them of his love and thanking them for being his friends.

In one of the most memorable sequences, two male bears stand on their massive hind legs and wrestle each other to the ground. In watching these magnificent beasts exert their full strength (as they fight for the right to mate with a female bear who Treadwell calls 'the Michelle Pfeiffer of bears'), we cannot help but imagine how easily they could devour a mere man.

Herzog's engrossing documentary looks at the man who loved bears from all angles. We never hear the audio tape that recorded the violent deaths, but we can well imagine the horror. And although we are left with the impression that Treadwell died as he would have wanted to, there were other needless deaths - that of his girlfriend Amie, and the bear, which was shot by a ranger.

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CAST: Documentary with Timothy Treadwell, Werner Herzog, Amie Huguenard, Franc G. Fallico,

NARRATION: Werner Herzog

PRODUCER: Kevin L. Beggs, Alana Berry, Billy Campbell, Phil Fairclough, Andrea Meditch, Erik Nelson, Tom Ortenberg

DIRECTOR: Werner Herzog

SCRIPT: Werner Herzog


EDITOR: Joe Bini

MUSIC: Richard Thompson


RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Sydney: Sept 8 - 21; Brisbane: Sept 29 - Oct 12; Hobart: Oct 20 - Nov; Melbourne: Nov 10 - 23; Adelaide : December 1 - 14, 2005. (Released as part of the European Master's Showcase, including Life is a Miracle, The 5 Obstructions, Time of the Wolf, Tickets.)

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