Isn't that a splendid story? It's barely a minute long yet it is filled with a world of love, understanding, grief, joy, compassion, insight and maybe some magic.
There isn't much of that these days. At least, not in public life. For the past 18 months, one person and his various enablers have been force feeding us a daily menu of hatred, ignorance, malice, lies, vulgarity and general thuggery that has tainted any whisper of human kindness trying to break through.
Yes, I'm bringing Donald Trump into this.
On Monday, the post updating some thoughts about elder loneliness I was trying to write for today was not going well. The words refused to come together, I was distracted and couldn't focus – instead surfing political websites and clicking on cable news to see who was saying what about Sunday's presidential debate.
None of it was uplifting in the tiniest degree. The more I saw, the more I read, the grimmer I felt. Let down. Kind of dirty. Craving a bit of patriotism maybe – words like freedom and liberty and justice that are missing from this horrible, endless election campaign.
I had wasted several hours unable to write about loneliness before trashing the piece and hoping for overnight inspiration.
That didn't happen but early Tuesday I ran across the above video clip that I had set aside some time ago for future use and had forgotten. Let me tell you about it.
It is from a movie released in 2015 titled Human directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, now age 70, who is a French photographer, filmmaker and environmentalist.
The film was produced over three years during which Arthus-Bertrand and a team of 20 others traveled to 60 or so countries where they interviewed more than 2,000 people, asking each one the same 40 questions.
All the subjects were shot on a plain, black background without any details about their identity and locale nor, during post production, any musical score. That way, Arthus-Bertrand explained to Wired magazine, he hoped to
”...concentrate on what we all share. If you put the name of a person, or what country they’re from, you don’t feel that as strongly".
Here is Arthus-Bertrand himself explaining his goal in making Human:
Now, a few more of the 2,000 stories.
Although I would hope so, it is hard to know if I am good enough to maybe, possibly, sometimes find the kind of forgiveness the man in that last video has. What I know with all my heart, however, is that Donald Trump cannot.
He is the opposite of love, devotion, kindness, understanding. And what he has done – or we have allowed him to do - with his non-stop bellowing of loathsome and repugnant speech is infect us all with his hateful view of life.
It is bad enough that with at least one-third of voters backing Trump, his abominable beliefs and behavior will not end with a Clinton victory. We are stuck with it for a long time.
Which is exactly why I need a break from it all and something uplifting to feed my soul. It took finding that video of this magnificent movie about all the many ways there are to be human for me to feel a little bit clean again.
You can watch Human yourself in a variety of places and formats. There is the official website or watch many short videos like those above at Google Arts & Culture. Or visit the YouTube page for more clips.
There is also a theatrical version and a TV version, among others (see here). Plus, there is this three volume version you can watch online:
I don't recall that I have ever in my 75 years felt as bad about my country and its future as I do now. This movie, Human - which shows us the family of man in all its glory, and misery too - is a good antidote.