Treading once more upon conceptual ground first travelled in Grizzly Man, Werner Herzog takes the footage of another--in this case, Dimitry Vasukov's four-hour documentary on Siberian fur trappers--and condenses it "into a memerizing Walden-like ode to wilderness life...ruminating on man's relationship with nature...
The East Siberian taiga is one of the largest ecosystems in Russia. The area is home for a self-reliant indigenous group concentrated around the Bakhtia village. The locals have managed to preserve their own cultural traditions for centuries, give or take a motorboat or two. In Bakhtia, the rules of capitalism are subverted for the good of the community, and the only standard of conduct are their individual values. In addition, the weather conditions demand extreme physical effort from the natives.
The region has seldom been seen on film and first time director Dmitry Vasyukov takes full advantage of the breathtaking landscapes. To watch glaciers travelling through the Yenisei River at remarkable speed is a sight to behold. The perpetually bemused Werner Herzog (also producer) provides the narration. His admiration for the locals' capacity to enjoy a full life in this environment is only matched by his delight when discovering the complete absence of bureaucracy and other contemporary malaises.