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Happy People, a Year in the Taiga Happy People, a Year in the Taiga

Werner Herzog, Dmitrij Vasjukov / Germany / 2011 / 80 min

An enchanting probe into the life of the huntsmen in Siberian taiga. According to director Werner Herzog, they maintain an “utterly free« existence in one of the world’s last untouched areas.

In the heart of the Siberian taiga, far from the clutches of civilisation, there lies Bakhta, a small village with only three hundred inhabitants. Accessible only by helicopter or boat, this outpost is free from phones or television, but also lacks running water and basic health care. Still cultivating century-old habits, the villagers have based their lives on tradition and their ancestors’ legacy. And if the Western civilisation one day became extinct, they would – so we believe – survive.

»Happy People: A Year in the Taiga was a complete stumbling of a film into me, almost literally. I went to the house of a friend, and I only stopped by because there was a huge parking spot nearby. I stopped and I knocked on his door. And I see on his plasma screen there’s something playing. He wanted to turn it off, and I said, “No, no, this looks interesting.« And I ended up watching four hours of this Russian film about hunters in Siberia [originally directed by Dmitry Vasyukov]. And I thought one should make an international version of it.« (Werner Herzog)

Wener Herzog
Born in Munich in 1942. He grew up in a remote mountain village in Bavaria and studied History and German Literature in Munich and Pittsburgh. He made his first film in 1961 at the age of 19. Since then he has written and directed over sixty feature- and documentary films. Herzog has published more than a dozen books of prose, and directed as many operas.

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