Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

Poster for Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

Autumn 2013 Documentary series

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 7:00pm

Acadia Cinema's Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main Street, Wolfville, NS

Directed by Werner Herzog and Dmitry Vasyukov

Screenplay by Rudolph Herzog, Werner Herzog, and Dmitry Vasyukov


Rated NR · 1h 30m
English and Russian

View trailer

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

In Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, Werner Herzog (Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Encounters at the End of the World), takes viewers on yet another unforgettable journey into remote and extreme natural landscapes.

The acclaimed filmmaker presents this visually stunning documentary— compiled from four hour-long movies made by Russian filmmaker Dmitry Vasyukov— about indigenous people living in the heart of the Siberian Taiga. Deep in the wilderness, far away from civilization, 300 people inhabit the small village of Bakhtia at the river Yenisei. There are only two ways to reach this outpost: by helicopter or by boat. There is no telephone, running water or medical aid. The locals, whose daily routines have barely changed over the last centuries, live according to their own values and cultural traditions.

With insightful commentary written and narrated by Herzog, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga follows one of the Siberian trappers through all four seasons of the year to tell the story of a culture virtually untouched by modernity.

“The resulting film is both beautiful and fascinating, and offers a thrilling travelogue through a spectacular landscape few of us will ever see first-hand.” (Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com)

“Herzog has become a master of the understatement—knowing just how long the images can sustain you without a word being said. Vasyukov and his team of cameramen gave him a stunning range to work with, so the filmmaker keeps his own narration to a minimum.” (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times)

“At bottom, Happy People celebrates the hard-won freedoms that living in the Taiga offers those who are willing to confront its challenges. There are few places on the planet where the strictures of society don’t apply, and the trade-off for fending off bears and minus-50-degree weather is the opportunity to lead a pure, solitary life.” (Scott Tobias, NPR)