Happiness… Promised Land
Without preparation, and carrying only a backpack and a camera, the documentary filmmaker Laurent Hasse hiked from the French Pyrenees to the coast of northern France. “Hiking is a pleasure, and that pleasure is the subject of this film. Every encounter is an encouragement, as if everyone is thinking of me as I travel on.” Happiness … Promised Land is a road movie at walking pace, with Hasse’s unplanned and openhearted encounters with his compatriots determining the structure.
He has one important central question: what’s your definition of happiness? And it turns out to be a tough question to answer. A wide range of people have a go, though, including a bar owner, a baker, some soldiers, a monk, a couple of housewives, and Santa Claus. This rich palette of perspectives that Hasse collects shows that optimists tend to find happiness close to home – although sometimes you have to have traveled to find out that that’s where it is. The pessimists tend to view happiness as something fragile, or else as pure egocentricity – because how can you be happy when you know that others are suffering?
Happiness … Promised Land balances between common truths about everyday happiness and existential reflection.