Happiness has become a modern commodity. If people aren’t selling it, they’re searching for it. In a society in which we live longer, financially richer lives, we still aren’t happier than our forebears—but why?
Stefan Sagmeister examines this question in his first feature length documentary titled The Happy Film. Six years in the making, this film pursues the question of happiness through the lens of a single person searching for it: Stefan himself. The film documents a series of self-experiments popularized in contemporary psychology—meditation, cognitive therapy, pharmaceuticals—to prove whether or not it is truly possible for the individual to determine their own happiness. As always though, the realities of day to day life—art, sex, love and death—become impossible to avoid. The film navigates these painful personal experiences, designing them as a journey that ultimately brings Stefan closer to himself than he had ever intended.
As he explains, “Trying to chase after something more meaningful turned out to be a big pain in the ass. I spent the past six years of my life working on this thing that says, ‘I’m an asshole’.” Undertaken in the most tongue in cheek way, the expansive creativity of the New York-based graphic designer takes yet another form in this film—proving once more his position as one of the great artistic minds of our time.