in about 100 words or less
Germany 94m, Colour
Directors: Werner Herzog & Dmitry Vasyukov; Narrator: Werner Herzog
Reminiscent of early anthropological styled films about distant cultures in far off lands, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga is a fascinating documentary about the lives of the villagers in the town of Bakhta, Siberia. Narrated by Herzog, the camera follows village life as it is focused around the annual trapping season. Though it is suggested that the villager’s lives rely on long-standing cultural traditions, the film also reveals the effects that the former Soviet Union and the Second World War have had on contemporary life. Herzog may be guilty of presenting a romanticized version of traditional village life and the ever-present dangers of nature, but the film arguably benefits from his idiosyncratic lens on the universe (Klaus Ming March 2013).