It’s not often that filmmaker Werner Herzog completes a project that actually includes the word “happy” in even its synopsis, let alone its title, but there’s apparently a first time for everything (after all, this is the guy who made no less than two films about death row in the span of a year). In his Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, Herzog and co-director Dmitry Vasyukov explore the indigenous people who live in the Siberian Taiga. Who knew people could be happy in Siberia, of all places?
The documentary centers on the lifestyle of the people who live in the tiny village of Bakhtia at the river Yenisei. Only three hundred or so Siberians live there, and Bakhtia is only reachable by helicopter or boat (one does not simply walk into Bakhtia). Of course, being so cut off from modern civilization has its pluses – mainly, that you don’t have to deal with stuff like telephones or the Internet – but good luck getting running water or medical aid up there in Bakhtia. Herzog and Vasyukov’s film tracks a year for the “happy people” of the village, and looks stunning while doing it.
After the break, check out our exclusive poster premiere for Happy People. Point for the Bakhtia people? Everyone gets a sled dog!
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga opens in limited release on January 25th.