Cinema - Grizzly Man (15)

Grizzly Man, by the German film director Werner Herzog, is one of the strangest and most moving nature documentaries you are ever likely to see. It was created from cuttings of 90 hours of video footage shot by an eccentric called Timothy Treadwell who spent the last 13 years of his life communing with grizzly bears in the Katmai National Park in Alaska. This is interspersed with interviews with people who knew Treadwell, a reformed alcoholic New Yorker whose slightly deranged voice narrates much of the footage. There is no direct interview with Treadwell himself – in the autumn of 2003 he was attacked by a rogue bear which decapitated him, chopped him into pieces, and ate him. It also killed his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard. A few days later the authorities shot the bear, and retrieved Treadwell’s arm, his watch still ticking. The helicopter pilot who picked up Treadwell’s remains is interviewed: “He was treating them as people in bear costumes. He got what he deserved. The tragedy is that he took the girl with him.”

Herzog isn’t judgemental about Treadwell, and he isn’t sentimental about bears. At the end he is shown wondering what to do with Treadwell’s last video cut, when the bear attacks him. The director explains that Treadwell didn’t have time to take the lens cap off the camera before he was slaughtered, but you can hear the audio of his death and that of his girlfriend, who tries to defend herself with a frying pan. You really want to hear it, and then again, you really don’t. DL

Unlucky for some: after 13 years of living with bears Timothy Treadwell
was eaten alive by a rogue grizzly

All Saints, Friars Walk, Lewes
When? Sat 8.15pm; Sun 6pm
How Much? £4.50
Lewes Cinema
(t) 01903 523833
(w) Website