Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man) narrates and co-directs Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, a documentary about four seasons with trappers in Bakhtia, Siberia.
The film’s title had me thinking I’d be watching a movie about dudes partying it up in the snow, but it isn’t anything like that. These guys work their asses off to survive and get some animal pelts, with little to do but make skis with an ax and hang out with their dogs.
It’s actually quite fascinating to see what these guys go through to make a living, and it will make you feel like a douche for complaining about the coffee at your workplace. I always love to hear that Herzog voice telling a story (or just being scary on Adult Swim’s Metalocalypse).
While no humans get eaten by bears, somebody does tell a story about their dog getting eaten by a bear, so this is definite Herzog territory. These guys don’t have electricity at their trapping outposts, but they do have gas powered chainsaws and snowmobiles, so they do have some modern amenities. For the most part, as Herzog points out, these guys live caveman style and, while I wouldn’t call them “happy,” they seem relatively content.
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga opens Friday, March 8, at the Cinema Palme d’Or, 72840 Highway 111 in Palm Desert; 779-0730; www.thepalme.com.