Monday, March 9, 2009

Wild Style

There are advantages to being so sick that you can barely move. If I had been able to get off the couch Friday night, we would have missed an encore showing of Alone In the Wilderness on KCTS (the local PBS station) – Dick Proenneke's self-made documentary of his experiences building a log cabin by hand and exploring the natural environment of Twin Lakes, Alaska.

Using a hand-cranked 16mm Bolex camera, Proenneke carefully recorded the process of building the cabin and all the details that go along with it (including a stone fireplace, a thatched roof, wooden door hinges and a clever lock mechanism to keep bears out, an outhouse, a functional refrigerator in the ground, and much more). He demonstrates a truly amazing frontier craftsmanship that you don't see much of today; just as rewarding are Proenneke's beautiful shots of the flora, fauna, and spectacular scenery around him and his reverent but matter-of-fact take on it all.

I don't think it really does the movie full justice, but here's a clip if you're curious:

My brother first introduced me to Alone In the Wilderness, and Proenneke's skills, earned through his experience as a carpenter in the Navy during WWII, make me think of our own grandpa's experiences as a Navy Sea Bee and homesteader in Alaska.

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Unknown said...

This looks like a great film, thanks for posting that preview. I recently watched the Sean Penn film Into The Wild, and I'm struck by what a counterpoint this wilderness experience seems to that one. A man so meticulously prepared to live at the mercy of nature, and a boy so ill-prepared to do the same. I plan on watching the whole film as soon as I can. Thanks again.

D. Christie said...

I Love this movie!!! Every time it comes on pbs i am momentarily paralyzed and cannot change the channel

Midgets Poker Blog said...

One of my favorite films and stories.Amazing how this man lived.