Once in a great while, you will come across a piece of art that utterly overcomes you. It throws you into a tumultuous ocean of emotion, rising and falling with the strokes of the painting or the notes of the song. As far as we understand it, as modern humans and have an unprecedented capacity for understanding, appreciating, and creating art. As we all know, art comes in many forms, from the ancient cave paintings at Chauvet, the works of Leonardo DaVinci, and the film that I would like to introduce to you today; HUMAN by Yanns Arthus-Bertrand.
If the human condition, in all that it entails, interests you, this is not a documentary piece you will want to miss. Continue to read on as we explore why this is one of the more beautiful and moving pieces of art that I have personally had the privilege of experiencing.
Besides the beautiful aerial b-roll, there is no fanciful camera work in this documentary, just you, face to face with another human. One from anywhere in the world, they are set against a black background, with no identifying features as to who they are or where they come from. This is done so that all people can be viewed in an equal and unbiased way by the viewers; beyond this purpose, I think it allows the viewer to be more engaged with the person on screen. There is nothing to distract you from the words on the screen (each person speaks in their native language, so CC is required). The music this documentary is set to, composed by Armand Amar, sets a somber, calming tone.
As we hear from these dozens of individuals, for that is the entirety of this documentary series, hearing the first-hand accounts of these individuals, we hear just what it means to be human. We hear our stories about The pain and love, the loss and happiness we feel daily and weekly. We see that they are dealing with the same problems, no matter how different they look, where they may be from in the world, or how different their language is. They have the same emotions, and they have the exact wants, fears, and goals.
While each person’s specific scenario is unique, and we hear tales of significant loss and sadness in stories that inspire us to do great things, this documentary covers it all in a way that conveys the human spirit so eloquently that the three hours pass by without a thought.
Many people today may feel that they understand how other people view things, how life is in other parts of the world, or how difficult they may believe their lives are. This film shows the wide range of human behavior, thought, and emotion. While our goals may be shared, how we humans achieve them depends on where we are on this earth and, for better or worse, who we are and are born to.
This is not a happy series; it is not a film to watch to see the happy ending. This is the film to watch for reality. For the hard truths in life that make the human condition the challenge and beauty it is. If you take anything away from this film, take away that you should be proud to be who you are, that you should be proud to be a human, that you work as hard as you can, you do the best that you can, you belong, and no matter who you are, there are others in this world with similar struggles as you.
Some of you may find this film boring or even hard to watch, but I promise that there is a takeaway in the end, and you will better understand who you are and your place in this world after viewing it. Please, take my word for it and watch this documentary. It has been made entirely accessible for viewing worldwide on their YouTube Channel found here.
Let me know what you think, and if you agree with my impression that this is a vital film for as many people to see as possible. So please, share amongst your circles. I know it is long, and some of the stories are hard to listen to, but we need to open our minds to how other people live and maybe, just maybe, take a good long look at ourselves, our lives, and the way we live.