United States, 104 min
Timothy Treadwell lived among bears in a natural park in Alaska. Over 13 summers, until his fatal encounter with an aggressive grizzly, he filmed his adventure, in turn appearing as infantile, galvanised, sentimental, furious, egocentric, methodical or daredevil. It is from this extraordinary material that Werner Herzog draws the matter of his film. Their conceptions of nature are radically different: an emotional, anthropomorphic relationship with animals for one; the conviction that the violence of nature is first and foremost based on colossal indifference for the other. Herzog’s genius in this film is to conceive it like a dispute, a posthumous dialogue that incidentally raises a fascinating reflection on human nature. For if Treadwell was, in his own way, a fine connoisseur of bears, Herzog knows more than anybody how to explore the heart of those who are driven by an inextinguishable inner fire. Embracing the contradictions of Treadwell, whose grandiose and ridiculous soliloquies contribute to the film’s very particular humour, Herzog offers the ex-addict and failed actor the star status he had always aspired to.