A beautiful account of what it means to be human in all its forms, that is what the documentary HUMAN gives us. Director Yann Arthus-Bertrand takes us on a journey into humanity to uncover what unites us, where we find love and accomplishment and what our deepest struggles are. The result is an incredible account of people’s experiences from across the globe, showing intimate and honest reflections on topics of love, violence, sexuality, religion, achievements and failures.
French environmentalist, photographer and film maker Yann Arthus-Bertrand went to look into ‘man himself’ to uncover our common human experiences and find an answer to the question as to why we can’t always live together. With his team he interviewed 2000 people across 60 countries over a three year period. The documentary consists of personal interviews, mixed with colourful areal footage of people and events from around the world. The stories are told in front of a plain black background without displaying any personal details to ensure that the attention of the viewer is drawn to the people and our similarities, instead of our differences.
Through his interviews Bertrand explores the human condition, showing tales of great love and happiness as well as the painful experiences of people broken by war, abuse and poverty. The stories are deeply personal as people share some of their most intimate moments on camera. As a viewer you are being given an insight into the lives of all kinds of people that are often in stark contrast with each other; the rich and the poor, soldiers and refugees fleeing from war, people who have found deep and meaningful love and the ones who have stayed lonely all their lives.
It is an emotional as well as an empowering documentary, showing the great extent of human capacity for love, forgiveness and perseverance as people talk about their purpose and what has made a deep and profound impact on their lives. There is the story of Bruno, a man that got paralyzed from the waist down, but has now found more joy in his life then he was ever able to experience before. Kate, who has found the love of her life despite her struggles with her sexuality and … being forgiven by the mother of a girl he murdered. Powerful interviews with former Uruguayan president José Mujica and anthropologist Jane Gooddall make us question our way of living and the way we treat each other and our planet. Gooddall puts us on the spot when quoting Mahatma Gandhi:
“There is room for human need, but not human greed.”
Most of all the documentary gives the viewer a sense of unity and familiarity by showing our common characteristics, the joys and the struggles that everyone has no matter where they live or what they look like. Reminded of all the aspects in life that we share, of our humanity, you can’t help but wonder, why can’t we all live together in harmony?
Yann Arthus-Bertrand was born in 1946, and has always nurtured a passion for the natural world. At a very early age, he began to use a camera to record his observations and accompany his writings.
On the occasion of the first Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, Yann decided to embark upon a major photographic project about the state of the world and its inhabitants: Earth From Above. This book enjoyed international success, selling more than three million copies. His open-air photographic exhibition was shown in around 100 countries and seen by some 200 million people.
Yann continued his commitment to the environmental cause with the creation of the GoodPlanet Foundation. Since 2005, this non-profit organisation has been investing in educating people about the environment and the fight against climate change. This commitment saw him appointed United Nations Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador in 2009. In his work Yann is committed to arouse a collective awareness and responsibility for the planet and its people. His major cinematography projects include HOME (2009), Planet Ocean (2012), HUMAN (2015) and TERRA (2015). In continuation of HUMAN, Yann is currently working on the film WOMAN (release date 2019).