Sunday, January 13, 2013

Happy People documentary by Dmitry Vasyukov and Werner Herzog

Happy People - Promo May 14, 2010 from Kay Mode on Vimeo.

I'll be keeping an eye out for an opportunity to watch Happy People: A Year in the Taiga because it was directed by Dmitry Vasyukov and Werner Herzog. I became a Herzog fan after watching Cave of Forgotten Dreams and Grizzly Man. He has dozens of other films, but the two I've already watched impressed me with his thoughtfulness. Herzog also has one of the most patient and beautiful voices to listen to as he narrates or interviews subjects. His European accent soothes with innate wisdom and every gently articulated word flows with meaning.

In Cave of Forgotten Dreams Herzog entered the Chauvet caves of Southern France. Astounding art from the Stone Age adorns these cave walls that were sealed off for thousands of years. The artistry of the work is exquisite. Every remaining trace of color speaks of purely inspired genius. The caves also contain relics of cave bear skulls now covered with mineral drippings. There is also a mind blowing place where the tracks of a child and a wolf go across the floor side by side. The art in these caves drew my mind back to the beginning when people were knowingly part of the animal world instead of disembodied from Nature. Watching Cave of Forgotten Dreams was a transcendent experience that truly made me feel the scope of human history.

Grizzly Man is a different experience. It explores the life of Timothy Treadwell, a man uniquely crazed as he chose to spend more and more of his life among Alaskan Grizzly Bears until he and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were eventually devoured. It's a tragic tale that made me ponder what drew Timothy to the ancient realm of the beasts. He was called back because he could not live in our world.

I don't really know what Happy People is about except that it presents an isolated community in Siberia. I know that Herzog will teach me something. He'll be able to inform me about something I never knew or never properly contemplated. I look forward to the experience.