Saturday, August 20, 2011

6 billion Others

Yann Arthus-Bertrand, with Sybille d’Orgeval and Baptiste Rouget-Luchaire, launched the project “6 Billion Others”.
5,000 interviews were filmed in 75 countries by 6 directors who went in search of the Others.

From a Brazilian fisherman to a Chinese shopkeeper, from a German performer to an Afghan farmer, all answered the same questions about their fears, dreams, ordeals, hopes:

  What have you learnt from your parents? What do you want to pass on to your children? What difficult circumstances have you been through? What does love mean to you? 

Forty or so questions that help us to find out what separates and what unites us. These portraits of humanity today are  accessible on this website.

Six Billion Others...
 Everything began with a helicopter breakdown in Mali.
While I was waiting for the pilot, I spent a whole day talking with one of the villagers. He spoke to me about his daily life, his hopes and fears: his sole ambition was to feed his children. 
I suddenly found myself plunged into the most elemental of concerns. He looked me straight in the eyes, uncomplaining, asking for nothing, expressing no resentment or ill will. 
Later, I dreamt of understanding their words, of feeling what linked us. Because, from up there, the Earth looks like an immense area to be shared. 
But as soon as I landed, problems emerged. I found myself confronted by inflexible bureaucracy and barriers laid down by men, symbols of the difficulty we have in living together.

We live in amazing times. Everything moves at a crazy pace. I’m sixty years old, and when I think about how my parents lived, it seems scarcely believable. 
Today, we have at our disposal extraordinary tools for communication: we can see everything, know everything. The quantity of information in circulation has never been greater. All of that is very positive. The irony is that at the same time we still know very little about our neighbours. 
Now, however, the only possible response is to make a move towards the other person, to understand them.
For in struggles to come, whether it is the struggle against poverty or climate change, we cannot act on our own. The times in which one could think only of oneself or of one’s own small community are over. From now on, we cannot ignore what it is that links us and the responsibilities that this implies.

There are more than six billion of us on Earth, 
and there will be no sustainable development if we cannot manage to live together. That is why 6 billion Others is so important to me. I believe in it because it concerns all of us and because it encourages us to take action. I hope that each one of us will want to reach out and make these encounters, to listen to other people and to contribute to the life of 6 billion Others by adding our own experiences and expressing our desire to live together. 

In February 2003, Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s idea, 6 Billion Others, was born from the simple desire to make contact with other people. To learn to live together, it is first necessary to get to know each other, to dare to take the first step; to ask questions, to listen, and to become a part of someone else’s story.
By bringing together experiences on film from across the world, we hope to display on a single site the diversity of mankind, while enabling people to experience the universal nature of humanity.

In order to bring these portraits together, to make them enter into a dialogue with each other and to emphasise their diversity, we had to choose a common language for filming: 

• A common questionnaire, to begin with. Forty or so questions, revised during the first interviews, begin with the things that affect the lives of all of us: family, love, happiness. But also the things that divide us: war, certain values or beliefs.

• Next, a common framework: each face is filmed in an identical manner: centred, vertical full frontal shots.
We are looking for a frank and direct relationship, hence the face turned towards us, to the camera. The closeness of the face makes the relationship a direct one. It calls out to the spectator as it called out to us.

• A common approach: The equipment chosen is also relevant to our desire for intimacy. A light camera, a stand, two wired microphones: each reporter can manage the sound, image and conducting of the interview on his own. When filming, he tries to make the meeting as intimate and personal as possible, bringing out its unique character. This means giving as much of oneself as possible in each interview. Trust is established during the exchange and is the key to sincerity. Even if the person being interviewed is conscious of the universal range of the interview, he speaks in a very personal and spontaneous way to the reporter. 

• A story is written when these experiences are brought together: “I am the links that weave me together with others” : in echoing this saying by Albert Jaquard, we have attempted to weave these multiple experiences together in the editing process. 

Each film has the richness of a dialogue: Each person responds and reacts through his or her personal story around a common theme, with the replies echoing and at other points colliding with each other. The meetings provoke and touch us, encouraging us in turn to question ourselves, for other people are just so many individuals similar to ourselves, who at the same time can enrich us through their differences, and through the reflections and perspectives they present to us.

“6 Billion Others” is not a geopolitical study, nor is it a work of sociology. “6 Billion Others” is a perspective on humanity, a collection of human stories. Stories of fears, joys, and dreams, which make up our common Story. Bearing witness to the diversity of mankind, we wish to show that difference does not exclude understanding: on the contrary, it is necessary for the survival of the world as we know it.
6 years of work
A project like this cannot survive without the energy and efforts of a whole team. Indispensable links have thus woven us together too, in order to bring “6 Billion Others” to the public.

There is some interesting parts:


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