An epic document of the struggles and triumphs that unite us all, HUMAN takes viewers on a journey across the globe to uncover the essential truths about what it means to be human. Through a series of more than 2000 interviews conducted throughout 60 countries, director Yann Arthus-Bertrand successfully expresses the collective human experience in all its forms – from deeply personal and wounding stories of poverty, domestic abuse and anguish to tales of love, joy and the euphoria of being alive.
One such subject is love, a phenomenon which has driven and defined the human experience since the beginning of time. “Love is what fills the soul,” claims one female subject of the film. “My husband has two wives,” confesses another. You witness some subjects as they beam with tear-filled eyes at the love that fills their lives with meaning. Others offer that love must exist in concert with sex in order to thrive, while one elderly gentleman confesses that he gave up on his search to find a lover long ago, and has yet to take one even at his advanced age. Human sexuality is celebrated and explored in all its diversity, and acknowledged as an extension of our basic and universal need to connect. “It’s not the gender of the person I love that defines me,” one subject states profoundly. “It’s the quality of my loving that defines who I am.”
Arthus-Bertrand remains an unobtrusive presence during the film. He simply creates a safe and welcoming environment where his camera can capture a range of honest reactions to oftentimes challenging and profoundly intimate topics. As a result, viewers come to realize that the need to share and to be understood serves as another essential uniting trait of our species. Many of his subjects are stark contrasts from one another either geographically, economically or socially, but the film allows us to recognize their similarities and celebrate their differences. In the process, viewers may catch glimpses of themselves in each of them.
In a time when bitter conflict seems to dominate every corner of the globe, HUMAN is a refreshing reminder of the bonds that connect us all.