“Lights. Camera. Humanity,” as the director might say.

Against a backdrop of nothing, a young man tells us everything. Imprisoned for life for murdering a woman and her child, the man reminds of how he came to understand a powerful concept. Growing up, he equated it to pain.

Making Of Human : L’équipe de HUMAN s'entretient avec un ancien condamné à mort, désormais innocenté. © HUMAN The MovieI remember… My stepfather, you know, would beat me with extension cords and hangers. Pieces of wood. All kind of stuff. After every beating he would tell me, ‘It hurt me more than it hurt you, and I only did it because I love you.’ It communicated to me the wrong kind of message about what love was. So, for many years, I thought that love was supposed to hurt. I hurt everyone that I loved. And I measured love from how much pain someone would take from me. And it wasn’t until I came to prison, in an environment that is devoid of love, that I began to have some sort of understanding about what it actually was and was not. And I met someone.”

That “someone” turned out to be Agnes, the mother and grandmother of the woman and child murdered.

She gave me my first real insight into what love was because she saw past my condition and the fact that I was in prison with a life sentence for murder… It was Agnes, the mother and grandmother of the Patricia and Chris… who gave me my best lesson about love. By all rights, she should hate me, but she didn’t. And over the course of time and through the journey that we took, it has been pretty amazing. She gave me love. She taught me what it was.”

Touching on this first theme of love, award-winning filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand introduces us to his newest documentary HUMAN. Much like the impetus for our five columns here at Everyday Ambassador, Arthus-Bertrand’s work, at its core is about storytelling and tell us the story “of what it means to be human”. As a product of the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation and GoodPlanet Foundation, HUMAN is the “first film led by two non-profit foundations” and was recently featured at the Venice Film Festival. Even more recently, it was made digitally accessible to everyone on the Internet through a partnership with Google.


As our third installment for United Nations Month, a month-long series on Bucket List, we’re featuring this film not only because it made its premiere at the U.N. General Assembly Hall but also the fact that it covers a wide range of themes in the Global Goals. Behind each of the Global Goals is a desire to better, empower, and ameliorate the living conditions of people globally, and behind each attempt to achieve these goals is a personal story.

Having spent three years of life “collecting real-life stories from 2,020 women and men in 60 countries and 63 languages”, Arthus-Bertrand captures a wide range of narratives around these living conditions and around peoples’ lives in general in very different parts of the world. At first, each of his interviewees stares blankly at the camera – expressionless and as if he or she were a moving picture. It is when each man or woman talks, however, that we are able to connect and see what it means to work, find newness, experience loss, fail, and find love in different regions of our world.

Now it’s your turn: Watch at least one volume of the film, and tell us: did Arthus-Bertrand capture, in a sense, what it means to be human? What does humanity mean to you? What does human connection mean to you?

“Bucket List” is a weekly series curated by Everyday Ambassador’s Director of Brand Strategy Audrey del Rosario. Every Saturday, we will feature events, conferences, and happenings that spark conversation and ignite your inner activist. To stay current with our latest posts, follow #bucketlist or #EAinspired on our other platforms, and check back regularly for updates.

Image Credit: Human-themovie.org

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