It’s 2016, only two days in, and I already know that want to feel better about my life this year. We as humans have so much to be grateful for, even in our struggling. I want to do more for myself and other people, things I didn’t think I could do. I want to make more things happen and I realize there are many stepping-stones to this goal. Some of them we orchestrate and others we just stumble upon blindly. Such is the case with the Human, the movie.
I found a segment on Facebook and watched it before immediately launching into watching the whole first volume. It was an interview with a French woman, who talks about her experience in the concentration camp she was held as a child with her mother. There they met a pregnant woman to whom her mother gave a piece of chocolate. She was quite afraid the woman might die in labor because she was so frail and malnourished---almost invisibly pregnant. Many years later, they indirectly reunite at a conference about what might have changed in the mental health of the survivors if they had had counseling after they became free. And with that story, I was hooked.
She is just one of about 2,000 people interviewed in 65 countries by the Parisian film-maker, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, who asks the question, “Why from one generation to the next do we continue to make the same mistakes?”
The collection of interviews are interspersed with aerial shots of various places on earth and make for a fascinating and completely captivating cinematic landscape. For me, it was an outro from 2015 into a new year. There is remarkable beauty in the world that serves as a backdrop to these rather raw human stories of poverty, war, struggle, as well as love, fulfillment and happiness.
Arthus-Bertrand, born in 1946, is also a photographer, journalist, reporter and environmentalist, who says in the 2015 film’s trailer, “I’ve not sought an answer in numbers or statistics, but in humanity itself. For me, having photographed the world on a grand scale, today it is in eyes and faces and words that I see a force for means of reflecting the human soul.” Coming from the belief that the eyes are the mirrors of the soul, he also says in the trailer, “There’s nothing more compelling than looking someone right in the eyes as they bare their soul.”
Even Cameron Diaz makes an appearance in the film to discuss the concept of chasing fame. The film is available in three volumes on YouTube, along with another movie made by Arthus-Bertrand called, Home. Made in 2009, Home was almost entirely composed of aerial shots of various places to show how humanity is threatening the ecological balance of the planet. Both movies are a must-see for all people, who are curious about other peoples of the world and what affects them. It opened not only my eyes, but also my mind and heart.