Grizzly Demise

The grizzly bear has scored its fair share of movie roles. It’s the beleaguered cub of Jean-Jacques Annaud’s ode to nature, The Bear, the object of ill-fated Timothy Treadwell’s obsession in Werner Herzog’s documentary Grizzly Man, and has had its anatomy revised for maximum cuddliness by Disney on more than one occasion. Californians will be most familiar with the bear through its filmic lives, since the last living Grizzly in the state, Monarch, died in captivity in 1911. Sabrina Alonso’s visual essay, Grizzly Road, ponders Monarch’s fate, as well as that of his kin, who were no match for the human steamroller that was Manifest Destiny. Alonso’s camera captures what’s left of the Grizzly in California: carvings sold at roadside tourist hubs dressed as the cowboys and pioneers who hunted them out of existence. Under her gaze, it’s apparent how macabre their costuming is. Alonso’s film doesn’t just eulogize the bear, but explores the tenants of Westward Expansion that allowed progress to eradicate Grizzlies and Native Americans while solidifying their idealized place in history. Alonso attends this screening in person.
Sat., Aug. 16, 8 p.m., 2008

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