Happy Our

Happy People (2010) NR. 94 minutes. Werner Herzog (Fitzcarraldo, Grizzly Man, Cave of Forgotten Dreams) recuts a Russian documentary about white trappers along the Siberian taiga’s Yenisei River. It’s now a moving meditation on human ingenuity (which the trappers intimate includes the wherewithal to avoid its own apocalyptic fulfillment). Happiness here emerges out of a community’s willingness cum obligation to support members who–in stunning footage–love to lose themselves in the play of their (very hard) work. But as the indigenous peoples in and around the village are marginalized into boozy oblivion, there is too a very dark downside indeed.

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