Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
Is there a Paradise on earth? Through Werner Herzog’s lens, that is what Bakhta, a village on the river Yenisei in Russia’s far north, might seem like, especially if you don’t mind the cold. “What looks like winter to us,” Herzog tells us in this breathtaking and funny documentary, “is spring in the heart of Siberia.” He and his collaborator Dmitry Vasyukov capture the local people – nearly always in companionship with their dogs – making their own tools, trapping sable, felling trees to build boats, fishing, harvesting food for the long winter and holding ceremonies for the turning of the seasons. Plus they share their perspectives on greed, war and mortality, as the camera notes the arrival of modernity, in the form of helicopters and snowmobiles. "They live off the land and are self reliant, truly free," Herzog says. "No rules, no taxes, no government, no laws, no bureaucracy, no phones, no radio, equipped only with their individual values and standard of conduct."
Dmitry Vasyukov (b. 1958 in Moscow, Russia) graduated from the acting department of the Theatre Academy of Boris Schukin. Worked as an assistant director, and then as the second unit director on "Mosfilm Studio". In 90s he has been actively working in the field of advertising. He participated in creation of the popular TV-program “Dialogues about fishing”. After it’s been closed, he founded his own company "Territoriya rybalki" (Territory of Fishing) – the first project of which became the documentary series "Happy People", the one that this film is based on.
Selected filmography: "Happy People: A Year in the Taiga" (2011, doc, co-dir, "Kino pavasaris").
- Year: 2010
- Country: Germany
- Runtime: 94 min.
- Directors: Dmitry Vasyukov, Werner Herzog
- Screenwriters: Werner Herzog, Rudolph Herzog, Dmitry Vasyukov
- Participants: Werner Herzog
- Producers: Christoph Fisser, Charlie Woebcken, Vladimir Perepelkin, Nick N. Raslan, Thomas Nickel
- Cinematographers: Alexey Matveev, Gleb Stepanov, Arthur Sibirski, Michael Tarkovsky
- Company: Celluloid Dreams / Tamasa Distribution
- Dialogs: English, Russian
- Subtitles: Lithuanian, English
- Classification: T
- IMDB rating: 7.7