A year in the life of trappers from the village Bakhtia in central Siberia: fishing, setting up traps, stocking up for winter, making skis – the villagers live lives of almost total autonomy. 40 degrees centigrade below freezing in winter and a plague of mosquitoes in summer notwithstanding, one must imagine them happy, explains the voice-over narration. The lines and the voice are Werner Herzog’s, who co-wrote the screenplay for HAPPY PEOPLE with his son Rudolph, and also acted as executive producer. The film’s Russian director, Dmitry Vasyukov, shot the picture under the most dire of circumstances, at a far remove from all civilization. Herzog has likely given him some valuable advice; at least, the spirit of the Bavarian filmmaker extraordinaire pervades HAPPY PEOPLE through and through. Herzog’s quest for an »ecstatic truth« infuses the music the film wallows in and also comes through in its emphasis on man’s heroic struggle for survival in a hostile natural environment.
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
Kinowelt Filmverleih GmbH
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Selected filmography Werner Herzog
LAND OF SILENCE AND DARKNESS (1971), AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD (1972), STROSZEK (1977), WOYZECK (1979), FITZCARRALDO (1982), COBRA VERDE (1987), INVINCIBLE (2001), RESCUE DAWN (2006), THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL - NEW ORLEANS (2009)