Human (2015) through the eyes of Yann Arthus-Bertrand

“What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Or our curiosity? The quest for discovery?”

The common themes, problems, dreams and aspirations of people around the globe in an exceptional film

Author: Sylvia Borissova

Translator: Donika Boneva

The idea behind the movie

After his project Earth from Above (the book from 1999 and the film of the same name from 2004) and the film Home (2009), the director, journalist, photographer and environmentalist Yann Arthus-Bertrand embarks on his next global film project, this time completely immersing us in the heart of what it means to be human.

Arthus-Bertrand has long been known in Bulgaria for his aerial photography, which could be seen in the open air at the Lovers Bridge in Sofia in Fall 2007. From an early age he was interested in nature and the wild, and one of his most faithful companions in working is his sister Catherine. At the age of 17, he became an assistant director and then an actor in films. In 1976, at the age of 30, he left France and lived with his wife Anne in Kenya, among the Maasai tribe, to study the behavior of a lion pride.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand, © Olivier Ezratti – photography, 2009 

His love for aerial photography was born as he observed the indescribable beauty of the landscapes unfolding before his eyes during a balloon ride. The crowning achievement of his directing career is looking at man and his world ‘from a bird’s eye view’: the collection of stories and images of our shared world in Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s new film masterpiece offers a global immersion in what it means to be Human.

The predecessor of Human was Arthus-Bertrand’s humanitarian project 7 Billion Others (7 milliards d’autres), which began as 6 Billion Others in 2003. In it, more than 5,000 people share their deepest thoughts, memories, experiences and worldviews in their own language; they also ask those 40 questions, which answers we hear in Human.

What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Or our curiosity? The quest for discovery?

Guided by these questions, Arthus-Bertrand spent three years collecting real-life stories from more than 2,000 women and men in 60 countries: French farmers, field nurses, convicted teenagers, Third World children, radical extremists, infatuated souls at extreme old age… Working with a dedicated team of translators, journalists and cameramen, Yann captured deeply personal and emotional stories on topics that unite us all: from the fight against poverty, war and homophobia to the future of our planet. In everyone’s voice we hear a part of ourselves – from what we were before, in what we live now or what we could be…
And through the themes, those most intimate moments of love and happiness, which give color and meaning to the whole human life, invariably raise their voices.
The film premiered at the UN General Assembly, and its distribution is intended to take place in “the freest possible conditions for the widest possible audience”

11 perspectives on human in Human

To make this exceptional art project accessible everywhere and to everyone, its team has tried to present it in 11 different versions, including:

  • theatrical version (3 h 11 min);
  • extended web version in three parts: Part 1 deals with the topics of love, women, work and poverty; Part 2 deals with the topics of war, forgiveness, homosexuality, family, and life after death; and Part 3 – with the topics of happiness, education, disability, immigration, corruption, and the meaning of life;
  • musical version – the soundtrack is a deed of the film composer Armand Amar, a close collaborator of Atrus-Bertrand since Home, Earth from Above, and Planet Ocean (2012) under the joint direction of Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot;
  • selected excerpts for TV (2 h 11 min), and
  • behind-the-scenes footage – on YouTube.
© Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Human – The Movie, 2015


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