Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

Synopsis: In the center of the story is the life of the indigenous people of the village Bakhtia at the river Yenisei in the Siberian Taiga. The camera follows the protagonists in the village over a period of a year. The natives, whose daily routines have barely changed over the last centuries, keep living their lives according to their own cultural traditions. The expressive pictures are accompanied by original sound bites quoting the villagers.
Genre: Documentary
Production: Music Box Films
  1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
90 min

This is the village of

Bakhtia In Siberia.

Although it looks like winter to us,

it's already spring here.

The village is located

In the heart' of Siberia...

and we should' keep In mind

that this colossal landmass...

is one and a half times

the size of the United States.

The endless wilderness that surrounds

this place is known as the taiga.

No roads or train lines traverse it'.

There are only two ways

to reach this outpost'-

one is by helicopter, the other by boat.

The expanse In the foreground

is not solid' ground..

but the frozen-over Yenisey River...

one of the largest'

waterways In Siberia.

It' is only during

the few Ice-free months of summer..

that boats can also reach Bakhtia.

Of the 300 or so inhabitants

of this village...

a handful of them make their livelihood

as professional trappers.

One of these men is Gennady Solovyev.

Here he makes his way

into the wilderness...

across an enormous frozen river

He wants to show us

an essential tool of his profession.

An animal would approach

and begin twisting the bait.

The pressure is very light.

will just keep my hand in it.

Let me show you.

See how light it is.

There you go. The animal is trapped.

This is how disarm the trap.

take away the bait.

Remove the wooden linchpin so that

squirrels or mice don't steal them...

put everything under the roof,

and that's it.

Until next season.

You are no hunter Without a dog.

This one has short hair

because a Moscow dog breed is mixed in.

Here, take a look at Zeena,

her male partner.

He is a smart-looking one, no doubt.

But he's stopped working in the taiga.

He is not interested in hunting animals.

A freeloader, not a real dog any more.

But he gets all the appropriate perks

a dog is entitled to.

He chases after b*tches all he Wants

and gets the best food.

Have one male dog

who has really earned his keep.

Now he is retired from active duty.

He is a pensioner.

And I'll keep feeding him

for as long as he is alive.

Come here and eat!

The snow crust after a good frost

is very tough.

No, don't think it'll support moose

and other big ones.

But it is tough snow crust all right.

It's great for bears and wolves

to really get around.

But the poor moose have had it.

If the snow is deep, they won't get far

on this kind of snow crust.

Anyone can take advantage

of their helpless condition-

anyone who is hungry or Wants

to make extra money- people, mean.

This is the best time of the yeah.

for Gennady to find'

the perfect piece of wood..

for the making of his

all-important skis.

Here you are deciding

if the fiber will be straight or not.

See, it's a bit twisted

and kind of leans to the right.

If it's shaped like this from the top

along the center...

it's straight fiber all right.

If it's slanted a bit,

it means it's twisted...

and you're going to get

a propeller-like board.

A good wedge is a man's savior.

In the olden days, a villager wouldn't

have much by way of tools-

just a club and wedge.

The wedge should have a gentle slope

and be very sharp.

Make your wedge steep

and the wood will eject it.

Of course, a good craftsman

will make good skis using good wood.

Getting around in these

is sheer pleasure.

You might have factory-made ones.

If you and go into the

Woods, you'll drop

dead from fatigue

after 15 kilometers.

You won't be able to move a leg.

Me, I'll just keep on skiing

Without a care in the world.

"Without moss and wedge

to earn his bread,

the carpenter would

long be dead. "

True, you can't do much

using one wedge.

Take several of them,

and you can gradually lift anything.

You can lift a house.

mean anything.

It's so powerful.

Try to split a tree like

this Without a wedge.

There's no way.

You're not upsetting the fibers.

On a disk saw, if you

don't pay attention

where you're setting

the board...

it'll out laterally through the fibers,

and you've had it.

A ski is very thin-

about two millimeters near the nose.

If the board isn't straight-grained,

it'll start to bend and that'll be it.

As they say, you can take away

anything from a man-

his wealth and health and suchlike-

but you can't take away

his craftsman skills.

Once you learn a trade, you always know

your trade for the rest of your life.

You agree?

Naturally, you pick up things

from others as you go along-

a bit here, a bit there,

add your own little improvements.

You've got to see something.

Someone's got to tell you something

and you will know.

You can't reinvent the bicycle.

All these techniques have been

invented long before your time...

honed to perfection over the centuries.

The Ice covering the river

is still solid...

making it easy to travel

the vast distances...

the trappers need to

prepare for their work

Unlike sport hunting...

preparation for professional trapping

is a year-round job.

This is Anatoly Blume.

He's tending one of his huntng cabins.

Here, he removes the winter snow

so that the roof will not cave in.

Firewood must be collected' now

so that It can dry during the summer

Each hunter has a base hut...

and a number of additional outlying huts

that need to be maintained

That's a bear's trail.

He is out of his lair now.

Remember we talked about

the snow crust- that

it's strong enough for

the likes of him?

Well, he's out and he'll go

and hunt some moose or deer.

Guy needs his grub, right?

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Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog (German: [ˈvɛɐ̯nɐ ˈhɛɐ̯tsoːk]; born 5 September 1942) is a German screenwriter, film director, author, actor, and opera director. Herzog is a figure of the New German Cinema, along with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff, Werner Schröter, and Wim Wenders. Herzog's films often feature ambitious protagonists with impossible dreams, people with unique talents in obscure fields, or individuals who are in conflict with nature.French filmmaker François Truffaut once called Herzog "the most important film director alive." American film critic Roger Ebert said that Herzog "has never created a single film that is compromised, shameful, made for pragmatic reasons, or uninteresting. Even his failures are spectacular." He was named one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time magazine in 2009. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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