HUMAN

84 minutes 9.4/10 based on 30 votes

What is it that makes us human? Is it the ability to love? Is it because we are able to show different emotions and express different feelings? Is it how we join religious groups and how we fight for the ideologies that we believe?

Filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand wanted to understand why humans are different to other living beings, so he spent three years collecting stories from thousands of men and women from 60 different parts of the world. The stories capture the realities of life: sexual identity, anger, poverty, war, love, happiness, and the plethora of emotions that human beings experience.

When it comes to love, every person seems to have his or her own definition and each definition is based on a person’s story. The situations he or she has experienced and endured influences what love means to them. For some, love is sex but for others it goes way beyond that and it means service in the good times and the bad times. Is it possible to be deeply in love with more than one person at the same time? Does the gender of the person we fall in love with matter? And do the rest of us who are called ‘straight’ have the right to judge those who are homosexuals?

What causes wars? Are all the killings and the hatred really inevitable? When one takes a look at the decisions that are made by politicians—decisions that deliberately place the lives of innocent people in danger—one has to wonder whose interests are being protected. The shock of seeing the lifeless bodies of loved ones lying on the floor in pools of blood is hard to forget.

Where does one find happiness? Is it something that only the privileged can enjoy? Is it possible to live in joy and acceptance in spite of difficult circumstances? Is it true that our level of gratitude is directly proportional to our level of happiness?

As you listen to the stories you can’t help but take a look deep inside. Some of the testimonies are funny, some are heartwarming, while others are filled with pain and hurt. A few of them seem far removed from our reality and are hard to identify with. Yet these are their stories— their true stories—and they have the power to move our souls.

What is it that makes us human? It’s more, much more. Watch this 3-part film now.

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Discuss This Documentary

  • Rikki Ferrier

    When I first started watching this film, I wasn’t really sure what the point of it was. I was waiting for the reason. I was waiting for the bias. I was waiting for the maker of it to state their opinion or the point they were trying to get across, but that never happened.

    I’m not sure if everyone has the same emotional response to this film that I did, but something about it boiled up so much compassion in me for people. I’ve always sort’ve had it, but this was different. It bubbled up this deep love, intense empathy, and strong desire to help people that I can’t quite explain. It opened my eyes so much and got me out of my 23-year old, white, lower middle class, english-speaking, America-living, Christian, female perception.

    Before this, I had felt that I had a pretty solid grasp of the world (to an extent) and liked to think that I didn’t just live in my own little world because I like to volunteer with the homeless, garden for the hungry, volunteer at church, help animal shelters, study the effects of drugs on people’s lives, mental illness, etc. Many people would say that I’m caring and live beyond myself, but after watching this, I realized that’s so very untrue. I’m so limited in what I see and where I “help.” I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. Helping the homeless or volunteering with youth (or whatever it is) for an hour or 2 a week, although is very good, it doesn’t even come close to truly seeing and living beyond your own reality.

    Watching everyone’s emotions, hearing their stories, learning about their culture, their government, and their religion, etc. Just wow. I cried for a really long time yesterday after I had watched Vol 1 & 2 (I finished 3 today), just because I wanted to help these people. I want to protect them. I want to love them. Just simply because they’re human. I don’t care what race, gender, religion, social status, etc. I just want to love them.

    I guess in a twisted way, hearing the devastating hardships of these individuals lives has created within me an all new appreciate for my life.

    …I’m rich… and I didn’t even know it. <3

    • Walter Crawford

      I think that most of us feel the same way as you and I congratulate you on your TRUE human feelings and your compassion. I would subscribe to the motto of the late and great Dr Schweitzer – “Reverence for life”

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