VIFF 2016: Human

(France)

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      These are the stories that should replace reality TV.

      A Sudanese man whose sisters and wives were raped in front of him. An exhausted Asian sex worker who sacrifices herself to support her parents and children. A Latino woman angry at watching hotel guests throw away food while she remains hungry. Epic in its ambition, this three-hour opus intersperses stunning aerial landscape shots with talking heads from around the world sharing their personal experiences. Stories are organized according to various topics, such as love, war, gender, sexual orientation, and poverty. Although there is diverse racial representation, it remains unbalanced: South Asians are concentrated in the sections on farming and factory work; East and Southeast Asians are few; and indigenous people are almost absent. The length is also trying. But despite its flaws, it’s an indelible cinematic experience. The audience that should really be watching this? Fans of the Kardashians and their ilk. Undoubtedly, it’ll never reach them—what does that say about the state of humanity?

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