Happy People: A Year in the Taiga - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga Reviews

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½ June 21, 2016
Pretty plain documentary with subpar cinematography. But I always get a kick out of Werner Herzog's narration.
½ June 8, 2016
A fascinating immersion into a way of life that will be so foreign to most viewers, it will captivate. And it derives much of its power from the narration of Werner Herzog, whose hypnotic voice conveys his enthrall with people doing what would be unimaginable to us: spending nearly every waking moment in the company of nature and hard work to survive. With no complaints.
October 21, 2015
I don't even know why I love it so much.
October 10, 2015
another unforgettable journey thru Siberia with director Werner Herzog
½ July 25, 2015
Very Well done. This is really a documentary, and the title is misleading, but it is a good watch.
June 6, 2015
Beautifully shot, honest in its observation and heartwarming. We can all learn a thing or two from these people who live simply, who are active, self-sufficient and all at the same time content with everything they do.
½ March 30, 2015
I didn't know this was a Herzog movie until after watching it. I thought it was awesome, but not what I'm use to from the director. It's the kind of movie that I find very underwhelming, but that's a part of it's charm. With Herzog I expect extreme escapism and this movie didn't deliver. I think it's because the movies I've seen by him the scenery is a big part of the experience, and in this movie the people in the movie are up front and center. And they deserve it. I really respect their way of life. Then again, where I live the forest is a lot like the forest in the movie so maybe me being very familiar with the scenery makes me not really notice.
½ February 11, 2015
If it was some sort of passion that drove Herzog to produce this film, that passion was likely frozen under the river during that Siberian winter wanting to be thawed out. Thankfully, the moving pictures speak for themselves, but they don't necessarily speak of happiness here. A scenic documentary, nonetheless, and one worth seeing many times even if only for its scenery.
January 21, 2015
I watched it more for the scenery and visuals, which did not disappoint. I didn't really feel one way or another about the people presented in the movie, but did enjoy seeing the companionship between the hunters and their dogs. I didn't really get the title "Happy People". "Satisfied People" might have been more appropriate. Or maybe "Content People". Regardless, it's a good movie if you're looking for visuals and a moment in the lives of people from other parts of the world, but it doesn't feel too new, doesn't really convey any sort of message, and isn't necessary viewing.
½ December 3, 2014
Great documentary about life in the Russian Taiga.
½ December 1, 2014
I loved this movie. A fascinating insight into the hunters' yearly tasks in preparation for the hunting season. I was amazed by their axe-handling skill.
September 14, 2014
I love Werner Herzog's documentaries and this is another excellent one. A very interesting look at the lives of these trappers who go about their business in the harshest of conditions using primitive tools, yet being very content with what they do. A great look at a very different culture, I really enjoyed this one. Check it out!
Super Reviewer
August 28, 2014
Werner Herzog's, Happy People is yet another example of what makes him a good filmmaker. It's observant, beautifully shot, and restrained in its narration, letting the images and people speak for themselves. The film follows a group of trappers in the incredibly brutal and remote Siberian Taiga. So isolated, this area can only be reached by boat or helicopter, and only during certain times. Herzog captures this vastness beautifully, giving us expansive shots of the barren landscape, in its boldness and its breathtaking nature. Here we get intimate insights in to the men and women who brave this land, who, in their simplicity and assuredness, offer a lot of profound insight.

Visually, the film is stunning, as Herzog's work tends to be. Here Herzog is able to put to film something that seems surreal, it is so foreign to us. It is always engaging, and features just the right mix of narration, images, and dialoged from the trappers. Herzog lets what they say unfold organically, and the shots he is able to captures are nothing short of astonishing.

An excellent documentary.

4/5 Stars
June 28, 2014
Your typical German documentary -- slow story telling set to beautiful scenery. The happy part eluded me, and the focus on men only strikes me as problematic for a 21st century film.
Super Reviewer
½ April 14, 2014
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga is another amazing documentary from Werner Herzog. He always chooses very human stories and Happy People is no different. This is about as pure human as you can get anymore. We see people living in the Siberian Taiga, who have no running water, no electricity, no stores, no cars, nothing, but what they make and what they kill. They live off the land. Along the way we meet trappers, boat makers, fishermen, hunters, and a WWII hero. Most aren't given a lot of screen time, as we mostly follow one trapper. I like that we're given a lot of time with one person because it allows us to see someone in every aspect of their life in the Taiga, but also because the trapper who has all the screen time is extremely interesting.

Happy People is a film that everyone should watch. It's about people who are truly free, which is a theme nailed home by Herzog's narration many times. The people of the Taiga aren't confined to the types of lives we lead. There's no law, there's no telephones, no computers; nothing but the people themselves and what they create. This is one of those movies that just makes you want to get out of the consumerist, wasteful society we live in. 
April 14, 2014
Cold, so very cold. A world away, and a people who need to literally do everything from scratch, this documentary is sure to make you a bit more hardened of spirit. I'm sure just about all the residents of the Taiga have never even come close to visiting a modern city. Now THAT would be an excellent sequel (or reality show)! The most poignant part of this film is when the hunter describes the death of his beloved dog. The most overwhelming was the mosquitoes- who would have thought Siberia would be ten times more infested than the heart of the bayou country?
½ April 9, 2014
It's pretty good, the way these people live is amazing.
½ March 20, 2014
gracias Herzog por otro increíble documental!
March 11, 2014
A Herzog documentary that delivers a raw look at modern day trapper life in rural Russia near the Arctic circle. The full year duration of the film puts you in the shoes of sustenance living in truly rough conditions. The experience made me wonder deeply upon how we carry forward primitive traditions like killing animals and fish in part because at times human expansion into undeveloped areas or trying times required it to survive.
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