Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
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With HAPPY PEOPLE: A YEAR IN THE TAIGA, Werner Herzog and Russian co-director Dmitry Vasyukov takes viewers on yet another unforgettable journey into remote and extreme natural landscapes. The acclaimed filmmaker presents this visually stunning documentary 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 boat. There's no telephone, running water or medical aid, The locals, whose daily… More
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© Music Box Films

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

""Happy People" seems to strain toward the notion that harsh nature makes for a pure heart. And perhaps it does for some. But all?"
‑ Tom Long, Detroit News
"It's a do-it-yourself world that Herzog clearly admires - much of what we see is the men performing the tasks that enable them to survive."
‑ Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle
"Cut down from a four-hour documentary by Vasyukov, the result is a film lacking in catastrophic tragedies of any sort that holds you nonetheless with its raw view of lives spurning quotidian modern comforts with a vengeance."
‑ Brandon Judell, CultureCatch
"It's not that Happy People is uninteresting... It's just that the one sensibility of which we were previously aware -- that of Herzog's -- is indiscernible, as if frozen beneath all this movie's ice."
‑ Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
"From Siberia, with Happiness"
‑ Robert Denerstein, Movie Habit
"Titling a documentary about snowbound Siberian fur trappers "Happy People" is not as ironic as it seems."
‑ Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"They decidedly don't seem happy. And "Happy People's" decision to skate down the frozen Yenisei without examining their unhappiness more closely leaves a slight chill."
‑ Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post
"In a very real sense, we are watching Herzog watch this film, his rapturous reaction illuminating as much about himself as his subjects."
‑ Rob Thomas, Capital Times (Madison, WI)
"Unmistakably part of the director's canon, and just as unmistakably a minor addition to it."
‑ Sam Adams, Philadelphia City Paper
"It's a minor film from a major director but it's still a strong one for those interested in its subject matter - how people can still co-exist with and live off the land instead of ignoring or abusing it."
‑ Brian Tallerico, HollywoodChicago.com
"Herzog's longing for the ideological purity in which these lives are lived, free of paperwork and bureaucracy, taxes and technology, drives the film, which lacks an overall story arc."
‑ Barbara VanDenburgh, Arizona Republic
"If you want a taste of life as it must have been for the Voyageurs of old, this documentary is a good place to start."
‑ Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Quirky and a little scary and rapturous all at the same time."
‑ Kelly Vance, East Bay Express
"A stirring meditation on the human spirit in extreme conditions, Happy People also reflects Herzog's passion and fascination for the often unforgiving nature of the wild."
‑ Brent Simon, Shared Darkness
"Herzog ... continues his streak of well-crafted documentaries with surprising subjects."
‑ Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), St. Paul Pioneer Press
More reviews for Happy People: A Year in the Taiga on Rotten Tomatoes