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    Thursday, August 18, 2005

    Re-reading The Times' review of Grizzly Man


    "Mr. Herzog is also no ordinary filmmaker. It is the rare documentary like "Grizzly Man," which has beauty and passion often lacking in any type of film, that makes you want to grab its maker and head off to the nearest bar to discuss man's domination of nature and how Disney's cute critters reflect our profound alienation from the natural order." -Manohla Dargis here .

    Grab it's maker and head off to the nearest alley was more my feeling. I recommend seeing this film, but I don't recommend the film itself. Great footage of "Grizzly Man," Timothy Treadwell, but Herzog's commentary is a bit insane- he sounds like a man dropped out of a German existentialist time machine- and more importantly, like a man who didn't watch his own damned movie. I think the bits of Treadwell's tape were well-chosen, but staged moments where Herzog plays therapist to a bereaved ex-partner of Treadwell's were all about Herzog.

    I want to appreciate Herzog's willingness to insert himself, rather than participating in the artifice that documentary is actually some sort of journalism (and that journalism is some sort of truth). But I can't appreciate the awkwardness and self-righteousness with which it is done.

    Maybe the worst thing a documentarian can do is be overly self-righteous. Herzog is self-righteously cynical about a guy who is self-righteously innocent.

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