‘Happy Together’ is an ironical commentary on the one-sided idea of a happy and identity-forming community, like it is for instance propagated by lifestyle concepts or government programmes. Often, reality either stands in clear opposition to them, is not taken into account, or serves as a negative foil for the projections of a better world.
Within the context of the economic upswing and new social welfare legislation in the period after World War Two, the Canadian instructional film, ‘Fitness Is a Family Affair’ (1948), describes the benefits of neighbourly activities to incite people to take initiative’s of their own in their leisure time. In a fully democratic sense, even a lethargic father of a family is persuaded to commit himself to the community. The uniformity of present-day gated communities as the perfection of the American way of life, on the other hand, shows very little tolerance towards outsiders. Behind the scenes, behind the beautiful appearance, an exclusive and rigid system of order rules, leading to lonely and isolated individuals living alongside each other. The way a ‘successful family’ describes itself in Corinna Schnitt’s ‘Living a Beautiful Life’ (2003) sounds almost no different than repeated, interiorised advertising slogans.
Alina Rudnitskaya’s documentary portrait of the ‘Amazons’ (2003) recollects the epitome of young girls’ dreams. Living and working together with horses amidst the hectic life in the city follows its own rules and hierarchies. Within the programme, the horsewomen give a charmingly anachronistic example of creating freedom beyond the norms and conformities of modern life. A. C.