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Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 3,280 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 20 user | 57 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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Cast

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

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:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$337,497 (USA) (31 May 2013)
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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)
9 July 2013 | by See all my reviews

With "Happy People: A Year in the Taiga" Werner Herzog (along with Dmitry Vasyukov and crew) once again ventures into an exotic, distant land; narrating traditional (at times prehistoric) way-of-living of the 300-odd people in the remote village of Bakhta in Siberian Taiga.

The film primarily focuses on village's main breadwinners: 'trappers' who quarry in the thick of below -50 degree winter in the wilderness stretching thousands of square kilometers, across the Yenisei River flowing alongside the village. The village is almost untouched by modernity and highly independent--snow-mobile and chainsaw few of the exceptions. Inaccessible most of the year, village can only be reached by a plane, or a boat in the short-lived, appropriate spring-summer season.

Herzog/Vasyukov esthetically showcase the authentic 'happiness' a human-being relishes even in absence of technology and materialistic advancements. All you need is a sense of freedom and accomplishment that folks in Taiga mostly come upon by the constantly keeping themselves constructively engaged. Instead of harming/modifying the nature, they have learned to live in harmony with it--assimilating their lifestyles around four different seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.

The related blog-post has some delightful screen captures from the film covering the 4-season cycle and the specific chores set around them. Wish I could post them here, somehow! Posting sans the pictures, anyhow.

Spring:

-Passing on the conventional wisdom (Ski-making) -Setting up the base structure of quarry-traps -Smoking the Ski for shape and sturdiness -Canoe for fishing made of local wood -Widening of canoe using fire -Testing the new canoe and green huskies in first waters

Summer: -Constructing huts for deep winter in the wilderness -Thawing of the river, Yenisei -Inherent tendencies of the Orion kicking in!

Fall:

-Nut gathering squirrel connotes: "Winter is coming" -Night-fisherman: fish is attracted to the fire-light -Storing supplies nearby winter hut, away from Bear's reach -Bear hibernating but rats still a threat -Wading upstream: Transporting essentials to the hut

Winter:

-Checking the traps for quarry Earning his keep, smells prey! -After a hard day's work returning back to a roof that might cave-in under snow -Meanwhile, in the village: Fishing Holes Returning home for New Year/Christmas

Trappers visit family during festivities, notice the husky running behind the snowmobile--he runs all the 150 frozen kilometers of the river! After a short stay with family (till Jan 6, Christmas) a trapper gets back to his wilderness for a couple more months--to his hut (that is naturally insulation using earth and dry moss) with his best friend.

Thanks to Herzog, this documentary is a chance to live a dream lifestyle lot of us crave for.


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