the reason i was mute about grizzly man is i was ashamed to have never seen a herzog film. have had one copy of fitzcarraldo lying around for months -- and by the way, everything i say here is also exactly the same for Bresson and A Man Escaped with the one difference being that i copied the Herzog film and just bought the Bresson outright -- but just had been delaying watching it -- too many tangents -- i guess. anyway, popped it in last night. blown away. absolutely mesmerized. esp. by the actual filmmaking in the 1st half. felt like the 1st half was just mind bogglingly (and i strongly object to that silly phrase but it was) beautiful. similar but probably better than peter weir (i like peter weir more than i should too, surely). i would have to say there were moments (esp. like when he's just lying around there in the hammock w/ the children and the ice and then he cuts to some shot of a parrot, like, bobbing on the twig, or drunk on the music or something) -- i would say the sort of (notalgia/dream/memory/other worldliness) of it reminded me a lot of WKW's Days of Being Wild (which might be/is my favorite WKW film anyway). but then the 2nd half had moments where i thought it got a little @slow.com. although it was always good. just not quiiiite so good as the 1st half. like it almost became TOO real. (for film?) i shouldn't say worse filmmaking. that's not it. it's more just a major stylistic shift there, in which the conflict between fiction and documentary becomes noticeable.
i also felt like the film's story (overall) and the experience of watching it -- has grown/increased in worth greatly as time passes after seeing it -- many times you enjoy a film only to wakeup the next morning and think "god how could i have...what did i..." (as if there is some nasty thing in the bed next to you from the night before). well this is the opposite of that. i think herzog (whatever else he has done and whatever else anyone says (i am completely/blissfully/annoyingly ignorant)) is really special.
but then a) i am a sucker for anything to do with colonialization + balmy heat b) i am probably the only person i know to have a c 1950's book all about jivaro indians (head shrinkers), which i bought "used" to satisfy my mini-obsession with head shrinking. when he asks if he's ever seen a shrunken head before, i was sitting there (at first) thinking, and then (saying out loud at the screen), "yes, i have." (in oxford. the natural history and oddity museum. "yes, i have." history and oddity have gone together for thousands of years, i would think.
anyway, reading this old book about the jivaros--it chronicles these fascinating tales of missionaries and even a few major "revolts" where, for example, entire cities of 60,000+ were completely slaughtered (every man, woman, child) by uprisen indians. it's just amazing to think about that kind of thing, which all seems so impossible to wrap a brain around. since there's no pictures and stuff, like there is of europe, and also european history was "in europe". this was "in" a jungle. seems so different. (this is probably the whole point, i guess, of what's so powerful, this idea of "bringing opera to iquito") i can just get derailed imagining what a city of 60,000 (in the jungle) would be like -- as did herzog i'm sure -- and so back to fitzcarraldo -- for example, when you see the one indian (the mechanic/would-be-superfriend) and how he reacts to the other indians...it's all just so inter-tribal isn't it? -- and as far as i can tell--from my extensive flipping through a few pages in one book--all the film's cultural details seemed quite well-researched and accurate. esp. the yucca fermented by saliva. nasty.
maybe i should see grizzly bear man. huh.