×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

A mesmerizing "Walden"-like ode to wilderness life.

With:
Narrator: Werner Herzog. (English dialogue)

Continuing his romance with extreme conditions and remote locations, Werner Herzog steps in to overhaul Russian director Dmitry Vasyukov’s “Happy People: A Year in the Taiga,” condensing the four-hour, made-for-TV documentary portrait of Siberian fur trappers into a mesmerizing “Walden”-like ode to wilderness life. As in “Grizzy Man,” Herzog plays magpie with another filmmaker’s footage, ruminating throughout on man’s relationship to nature — only in this case, these self-reliant subjects possess no delusions about their surroundings (they know how to handle a bear attack). Herzog’s efforts should expand the project’s reach to the West, if only on TV in most territories.

Covering a year in the life of several Bakhta-based hunters, “Happy People” progresses methodically through the seasons. Scenes of everyday survival constitute most of the film, from pike fishing to building cabins and hand-crafting skis, with Herzog cherry-picking the program’s most captivating moments (including nearly everything to do with the hunters’ loyal dogs). What little dialogue remains has been rather awkwardly dubbed into English, though Herzog’s philosophical narration — enchanted by this outpost free from phones, taxes and all the trappings of modern life — elevates “Happy People” above most nature docs.

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

Germany

Production: A Studio Babelsberg production. (International sales: Studio Babelsberg, Potsdam, Germany.) Produced by Charlie Woebcken, Christoph Fisser, Nick Raslan, Vladimir Perepelkin. Executive producers, Werner Herzog, Yanko Damboulev, Timur Bekmambetov, Klaus Badelt. Co-producer, Thomas Nickel. Directed by Dmitry Vasyukov. Screenplay, Werner Herzog, Vasyukov, Rudolph Herzog.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Alexey Matveev, Gleb Stepanov, Arthur Sibirski, Michael Tarkovsky; editors, Maxim Perepelkin, Dmitry Vasyukov, Alexey Stanevich, Joe Bini; music, Klaus Badelt. Reviewed at Telluride Film Festival, Sept. 4, 2010. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: Narrator: Werner Herzog. (English dialogue)

More Film

  • Yesterday Movie Danny Boyle

    Danny Boyle on 'Yesterday,' Leaving 'Bond 25' and Why the Beatles Still Rock

    Danny Boyle would like to reintroduce you to the Beatles. The iconic foursome certainly needs no introduction, but in his movie “Yesterday,” which debuts June 28, the director envisions a word where nobody has heard of John, Paul, George and Ringo. That is, nobody besides Jack Malik. When the struggling songwriter, portrayed by newcomer Himesh [...]

  • Svensk Filmindustri SF Studios logo

    Warner Bros, SF Studios Expand Distribution Deal Across Scandinavia

    Warner Bros. Pictures has expanded its distribution deal with SF Studios to include Sweden and have their movies released by the Nordic major through all of Scandinavia. Warner Bros. Pictures already has a distribution pact with SF Studios in Denmark, Norway and Finland. Under the partnership, SF Studios has been handling the sales, marketing and [...]

  • Nicole Kidman Meryl Streep

    Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman to Star in Ryan Murphy's 'The Prom' at Netflix

    Ryan Murphy enlisted a star-studded cast for his upcoming Netflix movie “The Prom,” an adaptation of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical. Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Awkwafina, James Corden, Ariana Grande, Keegan-Michael Key and Andrew Rannells are among the A-listers bringing “The Prom” to screens. “The Prom” follows a lesbian student in the fictional conservative town of [...]

  • Viktor Dvorak, Anna Geislerova Join Vaclav

    Viktor Dvorak, Anna Geislerova Join Václav Havel Biopic

    Viktor Dvorak has been cast in “Havel,” a biopic of Václav Havel, as the Czech playwright, dissident and national leader. Anna Geislerova, who starred in Oscar nominated “Zelary,” plays his wife, Olga Havlova. Jiri Bartoska, the president of Karlovy Vary Film Festival, will appear in the film as “Professor,” inspired by Czech philosopher Jan Patocka. [...]

  • Daniel Craig

    'Bond 25' First Footage Sees Daniel Craig Back as 007

    After suffering a series of setbacks, including finding a new director and Daniel Craig’s on-set injury, “Bond 25” production is officially underway. A new behind-the-scenes clip of the upcoming James Bond film features Craig and helmer Cary Joji Fukunaga at work in the Caribbean. The minute-long footage didn’t reveal much about the still-untitled movie, though [...]

  • (L to R) Marco Graf as

    ‘Roma,’ ‘The Good Girls’ Top Mexico’s Ariel Academy Awards

    The Mexican Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences hosted the 61st edition of their Ariel Awards on Monday evening, where Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” and Alejandra Márquez Abella’s “The Good Girls” stood out among the winners. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Cuarón’s “Roma” scooping best picture is that it’s only the second of his films to [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    Already Pulled From Shanghai Festival, 'The Eight Hundred' Cancels Its China Release

    Already pulled from its prestigious spot as the opener of the Shanghai International Film Festival, war epic “The Eight Hundred” has been dealt a further below with the cancellation of its scheduled release in China next week. In a terse announcement on its official Weibo account, the film said late Tuesday that, “after consultation between [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content