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Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

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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.

Reactions, Awards & Festivals


Total Film

"A MESMERIZING Walden-like ode."


“A thrilling travelogue through a spectacular landscape.”

Andrew O’Hehir


"Vasyukov and Herzog are united in their fascination with the particulars of how to thrive in some of the harshest conditions on Earth. The pleasure of Happy People comes from watching these men go about their work."

Noel Murray

AV Club

"An extraordinary work."

Adam Spunberg


" engrossing look at a culture that many viewers have never been exposed to, and as usual, Herzog’s even-paced, accented narration is a joy to listen to."

Jonah Flicker

Paste Magazine

“Remarkable. [Happy People] will inspire many viewers to imagine a go at this fat-of-the-land life.”

Alan Scherstuhl

The Village Voice

CRITIC'S PICK “Gorgeous! A Herzogian rumination on life lived at the extremes”

Bilge Ebiri

New York Magazine

"A lyrical portrait of self-reliance."

Elizabeth Weitzman

New York Daily News

“Consistently compelling. Featuring scenes of such haunting natural beauty…it’s enough to make even the most devoted city dweller long for a sojourn in an unscarred wilderness.”

Frank Scheck

The Hollywood Reporter

"Spectacular! You don't want to miss 'Happy People' on the big screen."

James Verniere

Boston Herald

Official Selection - Telluride Film Festival

Official Selection - Vancouver Film Festival

Cast & Crew
  • Narrator : Werner Herzog
  • Directors : Werner Herzog, Dmitry Vasyukov
  • Producers : Christoph Fisser, Vladimir Perepelkin, Nick N. Raslan, Charlie Woebcken
  • Co-Producer : Thomas Nickel
  • Executive Producers : Werner Herzog, Klaus Badelt, Timur Bekmambetov, Yanko Damboulev,
  • Editing : Joe Bini, Maxim Perepelkin, Alexey Stanevich, Dmitry Vasyukov
  • Cinematography : Alexey Matveev, Arthur Sibirski, Gleb Stepanov, Michael Tarkovsky
  • Music : Christopher Brooks, Christopher Carmichael, Simone de Leuw
Technical Info
  • Production Year : 2010
  • Release Date : 01/25/13
  • Countries of Production : Germany
  • Languages : English, Russian
  • Running Time : 90 Minutes
  • Screen Ratio : 1.78:1
  • Sound : Dolby
  • Color : Color
  • Rating : Not Rated
DVD/Blu-Ray Special Features

Werner Herzog Introduction

Chasing Spring in west Siberia – a documentary

Siberia Fact Sheet| Theatrical Trailer

English, Russian, and German Audio Language Tracks