‘Being Human’ lifts the veil on an intense battle that we are all part of. It’s a battle for the right to define what humankind really is and should be. And with the right to define what a humankind is—our view of humanity—comes the greatest power imaginable.

The film is about our ideas and ideals about humankind, and how we defend our view of humanity in an intense battle, reaching from the big stages of society to the consciousness of the individual. At the same time, the film is a personal story about how you can find yourself in a situation where you have to reconsider your view of humanity.

Artistic director at CPH:DOX, Niklas Engstrøm: ›’Being Human’ is a very important documentary film that sheds a new and much-needed light on our notions of what a human being really is and should be. The film puts its finger on the consequences of our view of humanity — both on a global and on a personal level — and paints a thought provoking picture of our common future.‹

Film Details

Original Title: Kampen om mennesket
English Title: Being Human
Tagline: Human Nature Contested
Length: 80+ min.
Premiere: March 16, 2023 (CPH:DOX)
Country: Denmark
Language: Danish
Subtitles: English
Impact Partner: Bevica Fonden
Produced by Move Copenhagen

Kampen om mennesket


Anthropologist Kristoffer Albris
Psychologist Svend Brinkmann
Philosopher David Budtz Pedersen
Journalist Alberte Clement Meldal
Author Kaspar Colling Nielsen
Poet Caspar Eric
Culture Editor Anne Sophia Hermansen
Social Commentator Anna Libak
Media expert Camilla Mehlsen
Paraathlete Peter Rosenmeier
Architect Camilla Ryhl
Philosopher Frederik Stjernfelt
Architect Peter Thule Kristensen
Diplomat Jens Christian Wandel
Journalist Christoffer Zieler

Film Crew

Written and directed by Simon Lec
Produced by Jacob Levin Krogh
Director of Photography: Benjamin Kirk, DFF
Original Music by Simon Lec
Tonmeister: Sylvester Holm & Frank Mølgaard Knudsen

Color Grading: Benjamin Kirk, DFF

Being human makes you think. What does it really mean to be human? We are born as human. being. And over time we gain a certain kind of experience with being human. It applies to all. But this does not mean that we agree on what a human being is or should be. What potentials does man have and how can they be realized. We will never really know for sure. With age, our view of humanity can even change; when our bodies and functional abilities change, and our attitudes and priorities change.

Our notion of what characterizes humankind is important for many reasons. Most of all because we live our lives based on an idea of what humanity really is and should be. We ask ourselves what the true nature of humankind is. What does a real person look like? How should we treat each other? And do I live up to these ideals? Fortunately, we are not alone with these questions. We help each other answering them. Or rather: We wage a battle to convince each other that our answers are the right and only answers that exist. We are constantly figtigt each other. We do this when we talk to each other. On social media. In litterature. In film. In Academia. We try to influence each other to think about ourselves and others in a certain way. It’s this battle this film is about.


Personal Stories

Through personal accounts, the film paints a picture of how the view of humanity affects us all.

The personal stories give voice to people who (like everyone else, but to a greater extent) have personally experienced the human consequences of our shared ideals of what humankind is or should be.

Alberte Clement Meldal: Society’s idea of how a human being looks or should look has major consequences for everyone. Alberte Clement Meldal knows, if anyone, what consequences this can have. She was just 15 years old when she was named the ‘Danish Supermodel of the Year’ in 1992. The title gave her the entry ticket to Eileen Ford’s ‘Supermodel of the World’ modeling competition, where she won fifth place and she started what was to be a long career as a model.

Until she turned 30, Alberte Clement Meldal worked as a professional photo model. The job required her to constantly keep her weight down.  so she was trapped in ‘a food prison’ and developed an eating disorder. In the years when Alberte worked as a model, she lived up to society’s ideas about what a person should ideally look like. “I have not known any international models who have not lived in a diet regime with disastrous consequences. For my own part, in addition to the mental prison, I probably got osteoporosis from eating too little.’

Christoffer Zieler: Words define, for better or for worse, how people with dwarfism are regarded by others and how they perceive themselves and their opportunities. Christoffer is the father of David, whose dwarfism first showed up during a scan, a month before due date. The nurse could not get the measurements on the fetus to match. Then the head doctor was brought in, who determined that, yes, the child was unusually short. But afterwards the doctor reassured the terrified parents-to-be: “It’s not a circus dwarf you’re getting,” she said.

Peter Rosenmeier: When Peter Rosenmeier was born with deformed arms and legs, it hit his father so hard that he fantasized about killing his newborn child. The parents’ shock was eventually replaced by a steely determination to train Peter and give him as many opportunities in life as possible. Peter went to football, fought with his older brothers and found that at a table tennis table he could wipe out his disability and beat even players with normal arms and legs. Peter has since become world champion and Paralympic champion. His whole identity is built around being the best. A champion, not a victim. But the end of Peter’s table tennis career is just around the corner, and it scares him. For who is he then?

Download: EPK

Electronic Press Kit: Download


Jacob Levin Krogh

+45 27281952

Move Copenhagen
Birkegade 25
2200 København N