Sunday, November 09, 2008
I recently rented the film Grizzly Man. It's a documentary about a man, Timothy Treadwell, who--in my estimation--was desperate to find meaning in his otherwise meaningless life.
In his attempt to matter, Treadwell turned to Alaskan grizzly bears. Without a doubt, Treadwell was passionate for bears--in both protecting and understanding them. And all critics, myself included, must confess that he had an uncanny ability to socialize with them. That is until one of them killed and devoured much of him and his girlfriend.
The film consits mostly of footage shot by Treadwell himself, but this footage is intermixed with interviews of friends, family, associates, and wildlife experts.
Even before I saw the film, I had a feeling that it would be yet another chapter in the lengthy anthology of stories that depict naive environmentalist/wildlife enthusiasts who think of mother nature as kind, and man as the sole source of violence/problems in this world.
For proof that he was, at best, naive:
It made me recall Christopher McCandless , who renamed himself "Alexander Supertramp" and made his way into the Alaskan wilderness in order abandon the corruptions of society and to commune with nature. Hunters found his decomposing body months later.
Grizzly Man is definately worth watching. While I was not surprised that Treadwell died at the hands of the bears whom he loved, I was rather amazed at how long it took for it to happen. He lived with bears every summer for over a decade. He watched them. He named them. He interacted with them--even going so far as to touch them.
In the end, however, the lesson is clear. This romanticized view of nature is a fictional product of urbanization and especially sub-urbanization.
Enjoy this (you might remember it). Between me and the drummer from Def Leopard--three thumbs up!