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Archive for December 17th, 2009

by Joel Bocko

Over and over again, we are told that Timothy Treadwell wanted to be a bear. That he felt closer to bears than to other people and that in nature he sought his salvation. We’re informed, by commentators and by the narrator (filmmaker Werner Herzog himself) that Treadwell would drop on all fours and growl at those who stumbled across him in Katmai National Park and Reserve in Alaska, where he spent summers living amongst the creatures, just him and his camera. Or rather, him, his camera, and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard, whom he never mentioned or acknowledged in any of the footage, but who died alongside him in 2003. Herzog, who mixes Treadwell’s own footage with latter-day interviews and his own commentary, at one point listens to Treadwell’s death tape (the camera was running, with the cap on, so audio but no visuals remain of Treadwell’s butchering by a Grizzly in his tent). After a few seconds, Herzog rips off the headphones and tells Treadwell’s ex-girlfriend never, never to listen to the tape (which she acquired through a coroner) – in fact, she must throw it away. In his last moments, it appears, Treadwell was all too human and his death cries are too grisly for any member of his species to experience. (more…)

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