Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)

Not Rated  |   |  Documentary  |  15 November 2012 (Germany)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 4,080 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 21 user | 58 critic | 16 from Metacritic.com

A documentary depicting the life and work of the trappers of Bakhtia, a village in the heart of the Siberian Taiga, where daily life has changed little in over a century.

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Credited cast:
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Nikolay Nikiforovitch Siniaev ...
Gennady Soloviev ...
Anatoly Tarkovsky ...


In the center of the story is the life of the indigenous people of the village Bakhtia at the river Yenisei in the Siberian Taiga. The camera follows the protagonists in the village over a period of a year. The natives, whose daily routines have barely changed over the last centuries, keep living their lives according to their own cultural traditions. The expressive pictures are accompanied by original sound bites quoting the villagers. Written by Eike Wolf / Head of Corporate Communications, Studio Babelsberg

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Release Date:

15 November 2012 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Gent feliç. Un any a la taigà  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$10,481 (USA) (25 January 2013)


$337,497 (USA) (31 May 2013)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Edited from Schastlivyye lyudi (2007) See more »

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Another Winner from Herzog
29 July 2013 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

This documentary was co-directed and narrated by Werner Herzog but it didn't gather as much attention as some of the filmmaker's previous films, which is a shame because this here is another winner. The film covers a full year with several trappers as we see what they seasonal lives are all about. This includes various traps that they must make, issues they face in the wilderness and some of the most fascinating stuff dealing with them living in the bitter cold winters where temperatures reach fifty-below zero. HAPPY PEOPLE: A YEAR IN THE TAIGA is a really good film and nothing short of what you've come to expect from Herzog. From what I've read, co-director Dmitry Vasyukov actually spent the time in Bakhtia, Russia and the footage was then turned over to Herzog. Even though the famed Germany director wasn't actually on the ground, this here still comes across as his film and it contains that certain love and joy that some of his best work has. This film is yet another in a long line of films that take a look at people living in horrid condition yet being completely happy in their environment. Herzog has always been able to take "off" characters and make them seem normal. That's what happens here as we track these trappers as they go from one hunt to another while having to deal with nature and come up with creative ways to trap and live. Herzog offers up his typical great narration but the real people are certainly the stars here as we get to really know them and understand why they love doing what they do.

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