The biggest flaw in Werner Herzog’s 2005 amazing cult documentary Grizzly Man is the oppressively strong point of view the director brought to the story of Timothy Treadwell’s life. Upon, say, one’s ninth viewing, it’s almost impossible not to get frustrated when Herzog mentions the “over one hundred hours of footage” shot by Timothy over thirteen summers with the bears, when we only got to see the hour or so Herzog chose to show us. And on or around the fifteenth viewing, one gets fed up with Herzog’s strong judgments of Treadwell’s life and more than a little suspicious of his editing. The facts of Treadwell’s death are so unambiguously horrible that it would have been impossible not to start there and work backwards. But wouldn’t any person spending months completely alone in the wilderness with nobody to talk to but a fox and a video camera end up with at least some crazy person videoblogs? Grizzly Man fans have some answers, or at least more footage, to look forward to, in the form of The Grizzly Man Diaries, an 8-part “prequel” to Grizzly Man that will air on Animal Planet starting August 22:
It will draw upon the hundreds of hours of archived footage, private pages from his diaries and more than 10,000 still photographs, ultimately telling the story he truly wanted to before his untimely death from the very creatures he loved so deeply.
The Grizzly Man Diaries, not to be confused with a similarly-titled Discovery Channel special from before Treadwell’s death, is from the producers of both Grizzly Man and Werner Herzog’s latest film, Encounters At The End Of The World, but no Herzog connection is mentioned in the press release. Which is fine, because we’ve already heard from him.