Though nowhere near being in the same league as Werner Herzog’s brilliant Grizzly Man, David Kaplan’s 35-minute documentary on the killing by bears of self-styled wildlife activist Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, in 2003 makes for an interesting companion piece. This third-place winner of the Twin Rivers Media Festival is an admirably straightforward work that eschews any kind of romanticizing about Treadwell’s relation to the bears — and indeed any romanticizing about Treadwell himself. Treadwell, of course, did enough of that in his own life.
Lacking the deeper insights of Herzog — into Treadwell’s sexual confusion, his desire to be an actor, his need to feel important, etc. — Quinth simply lays out the known facts and the reactions of those who knew Treadwell. It’s interesting to see how what we’re given here neatly leads to the examinations of Herzog’s more ambitious film.
Deadly Passion is definitely worth a look. The film is the first of four being shown this month by Twin Rivers Media Festival. Subsequent films are Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea (Thursday, May 18), Perils in Nude Modeling and Stars (both Thursday, May 25).
– reviewed by Ken Hanke