French photographer, journalist and ecologist Yann Arthus-Bertrand got thousands of people from different cultural backgrounds to give answers to a lot of life’s questions. Many of the resulting personal anecdotes are included in his ambitious film project Human. While staring straight into the camera, men, women and children from all over reveal themselves. There are no distractions from what they’re saying, as the background is black. Their countries of origin and names aren’t shown, although they may be referred to in their stories. These are categorized by themes such as happiness, love, marriage, sex, revenge, violence, freedom, homosexuality, poverty and death. Impressive aerial nature shots – Arthus-Bertrand’s trademark – mark each transition to a new theme. From light-hearted reminiscences to extremely painful memories; from passionate pleas to world leaders to intimate revelations; from released emotions to held-back tears, each person delivers a unique story in a unique tone. As they speak, the filmmaker often shows the silent faces of others, also looking into the camera: a veiled face, only bright green eyes visible; a tear running down a cheek; a creviced face with a toothless mouth; the ghost of a smile. The looks and the stories reveal the pain, fears, desires and strength of man.
Florent Gilard for Humankind Production