A documentary on the indigenous people living in Bakhtia, the heart of the Siberian Taiga; some 300 villagers whose daily routines have barely changed over the last century and live according to their own values and cultural traditions.
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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
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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