104 min • Society, Nature & Environment • 2005
In this seminal documentary, acclaimed director Werner Herzog explores the life and death of amateur grizzly bear expert and wildlife preservationist, Timothy Treadwell, who lived unarmed among the bears for thirteen summers and filmed his adventures in the wild during his final five seasons. In October 2003, Treadwell's remains were discovered near his campsite in Alaska's Katmai National Park and Reserve – he had been mauled and devoured by a grizzly, the first known victims of a bear attack in the park.
Was Timothy Treadwell a passionate and fearless environmentalist who devoted his life to living peacefully among Alaskan grizzly bears in order to save them? Or was he a deluded misanthrope whose reckless actions resulted in his own death, as well as those of his girlfriend and one of the bears he swore to protect?
In this film, Herzog plumbs not only the mystery of wild nature, but also the mystery of human nature as he chronicles Treadwell's final years in the wilderness. Herzog uses Treadwell's own startling documentary footage to paint a nuanced portrait of a complex and compelling figure while exploring larger questions about the uneasy relationship between man and nature.