Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Human Experience: A Review

A young man is tucked in the back seat of a car, looking up and often out the window. He is reflecting on his life, his experiences, his hopes and frustrations. Outside the world blurs past. Jeff is searching for meaning, for purpose. He is on a journey, and we the viewers are invited to join him.
I recently attended one of the many screenings of Grassroots Films new work "The Human Experience." I've been waiting a long time for this one, ever since I caught the trailer a few years back and saw viewings popping up across the country. It was well worth the wait.
From Grassroots Films of Brooklyn, New York comes THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE - the story of a band of brothers who travel the world in search of the answers to the burning questions: Who am I? Who is Man? Why do we search for meaning? Their journey brings them into the middle of the lives of the homeless on the streets of New York City, the orphans and disabled children of Peru, and the abandoned lepers in the forests of Ghana, Africa. What the young men discover changes them forever. Through one on one interviews and real life encounters, the brothers are awakened to the beauty of the human person and the resilience of the human spirit.
The story unfolded with a gritty, youthful sincerity and passion that only the boys from Brooklyn could execute. This gave the film a fresh quality, and the feeling that we were tagging along on their quest. They asked the same questions we all ask (or once asked before the cloudy air of cynicism breathed into our days; Why am I here? Where am I going? Is there any point to this life, any meaning in the movement of my heart through it all?
They come to their conclusions, though, in a way many of us, I would suppose, do not; by engaging the questions head on (or should I say heart?) These are men of action, and this is the charm of it all. They move through the questions, literally. And with each encounter they come a few steps closer to the answers. The film is Catholic and catholic - with touches of the particular Faith and universal motions that will attract any heart searching for the truth of the human experience.
Keep your eyes open for its release in theaters. This is the hope, that these screenings will build a strong interest and allow for it to hit the big screen. God knows we could use a human touch in cinema today, and an honest inquiry into the mystery of who we are. The Human Experience does just that, and we should all.... experience it!
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