Last week I went to watch the film ‘Human’ put out by Paradigm Screenings. The film was a montage of people’s stories sandwiched between glorious aerial cinematic photography of the planet. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The stories centred around the universal human themes such love, life & death, happiness, dreams for the future. They were told from the point of view of the poor, the dispossessed, the bereaved and brought to mind a recent Guardian article about the missing voice of the working class.
Following on from the film, there was an audience discussion led by a panel of academics and whilst it was clear that the stories had touched many people deeply, I realised that I had experienced a different film from everyone else. Most of the discussion was about the anthropological and political aspects of the film and the intent of the filmmaker (Yann Arthus- Bertrand). It was, to my ears, a dry, academic and analytical discourse…
and I wondered am I not human?
I had sat spellbound at the sight of ancient deserts and salt lakes, huge river basins and the sheer destructive power of wild water as it tumbled down rock faces and across the ocean floor. I had seen a portrayal of the insignificance of the human condition in the face of the breathtaking magnificence of planet Earth, seemingly filmed from the point of view of a soaring eagle. All of this, for me at least, dwarfed into insignificance both the scenes of human activity despoiling all that it touched and the moving individual stories that were told by means of headshots direct to the camera.
It was the very insignificance of mankind on the planet that the film brought home. How our lives means so very little when framed by the bigger picture. I came away thinking about Anastasia and her philosophy that we are here to co-create. That we alone as a resident species have the power to make the Earth even more beautiful than it already is.
For me the film showed how badly wrong we are getting this. For me the message of the film was that the planet can survive without mankind, but that we are so wrapped up in the experiences of our brief lives, that we have forgotten how we depend on it for our very existence. That the ongoing relationship between us and our home planet will only work if we nurture its abundance and respect it awesome powers.