Humano

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Humano TV Poster Image
Insightful docu has some violent imagery, hallucinogens.

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Positive Messages

Ancient, indigenous practices and rituals are of great value and deserve to be respected (even if not believed). Seeking wisdom and understanding by getting closer to nature is also a major theme. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Stivelman is open-minded, courageous, and curious. Plácido is kind and patient. 

Violence

Animated segments feature some violent dream sequences involving the slaughtering of wild dogs. This is offered in context, and used to explain spiritual messages. 

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Plants like coca leaves are chewed to help with altitude sickness. Hallucination-causing fruits are consumed sparingly for specific, sacred rituals.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Humano is a critically acclaimed documentary that follows a young man as he takes a spiritual journey in the Peruvian Andes with the help of a mystical priest. Animated depictions of dreams sometimes feature some violent images (like wild dogs being stabbed and killed), but these moments are offered in context. There are extensive conversations about, and some chewing, drinking, and smoking of natural plant and fruit hallucinogens, which play an important role in ancient spiritual rituals and in fighting sickness (and should only be consumed by informed, supervised adults). 

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What's the story?

HUMANO is a documentary about a young man’s three-month journey towards self-awareness and discovery. It’s 2011, and 25-year-old Argentinian Alan Stivelman, armed with a single camera and an open mind, travels to the central Peruvian Andes to meet Plácido, a Q’ero Inca paqo (priest) and ask him 200 questions about the origin of, and the meaning behind, the existence of humans on Earth. Before answering them, Plácido takes Stivelman on a journey deep into the mountains in order to raise his level of consciousness so that he can find, and truly understand, the answers he is looking for. As the filmmaker participates in ancient rituals, battles the altitude during physical treks, and copes with the beautiful, but challenging, environment, the mystical priest patiently teaches him that it is only when people understand the natural, spiritual relationship between human beings and the Earth, that they learn to be human.  

Is it any good?

This intimate and fascinating documentary offers an insightful look into the spiritual awakening of a young man thanks to his sense of adventure and lack of prejudice. But what makes his journey particularly interesting is the glimpse it offers into the sacred and ancient beliefs and rituals of the Q’ero, an isolated ethnic group who are considered the last direct descendants of the Inca. Plácido, who appears to have some significant contact with the occidental (Western) world, deconstructs some of the foundations of his people’s belief system in ways that those who live modern lifestyles can understand. This creates a simple, but eloquent overarching narrative that encourages self-reflection as Stivelman seeks his own purpose. If viewers are willing to watch Humano with an open mind, they'll discover a beautiful film that reminds us that our dissatisfactions in life are often a result of seeing materialism as a natural state of things, and forgetting the importance of maintaining our human connections with the natural world. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the history of the Q’ero Inca community. Did you know that they are considered the last of their kind? How do you think their community, and their culture, will survive?

  • What lessons does Humano offer about human’s relationship with nature? Why is it so important for human beings to understand this connection?

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