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74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics What's this?

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8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 5 Ratings

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  • Summary: With Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, Werner Herzog takes viewers on yet another unforgettable journey into remote and extreme natural landscapes. The acclaimed filmmaker presents this visually stunning documentary about the 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 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. [Music Box Films] Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 16
  2. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jan 26, 2013
    90
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Steven Boone
    Jan 24, 2013
    88
    Like "Grizzly Man," Herzog's latest documentary, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga is mostly built around another filmmaker's priceless footage.
  3. Reviewed by: Barbara VanDenburgh
    Mar 1, 2013
    80
    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. And that longing makes the title’s veracity a little suspect.
  4. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Feb 15, 2013
    75
    “Happy” isn’t meant ironically. Herzog, who narrates, clearly loves, and envies, the trappers’ elemental existence and connection to nature.
  5. Reviewed by: Frank Scheck
    Jan 30, 2013
    70
    While the original version's four hours might have made for wearisome viewing for Western audiences, Herzog's 94-minute cut feels just right, fully immersing us in this rarified world without lapsing into tedium.
  6. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    Jan 24, 2013
    60
    Some limitations of adapting secondhand material show through in the uneven visual quality and diminished control over mood. Yet Mr. Herzog is openly inspired, as ever, by the rugged independence of these resourceful trappers, who seem stoic about everything but their faithful dogs.
  7. Reviewed by: Drew Hunt
    Jan 21, 2013
    25
    It would be inaccurate to call Happy People: A Year in the Taiga the newest Werner Herzog film.

See all 16 Critic Reviews

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