Matthew Lickona 11:49 p.m., Dec. 10
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
Werner Herzog happened upon a friend who was screening four films about professional trappers in the Siberian taiga, tradesmen who for centuries have used the same system of capturing animals because they are “unable to invent something new." Herzog contacted its creator, Dmitry Vasyukov, and asked if he could change the narration and score, and cut it down to 90 minutes. Vasyukov agreed, and the result is Happy People, a captivating portrait of a group of individuals who, without any outside interference, work to live and live to work. The hunters make their own everything, and their attachment to their four-legged companions (“You are nothing without a dog”) is downright inspirational. When the film’s main character caught wind of the project, he contacted the filmmakers, imploring them to let audiences know that they’re doing fine. “You don’t need to pity us,” he insisted. “We are proud.” He needn't have worried. 2013.
— Scott Marks
- "Herzog's proud, happy people" • February 20, 2013