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March 29, 2011

Discovering ‘The Human Experience’

Two brothers travel the world in search of the meaning of life


Jeffrey Azize grew up in what he describes as an abusive home, so as a young man, he decided to travel the world in search of goodness—and perhaps find a bit of the love he missed out on as a child. In the documentary The Human Experience, which releases to DVD today, Jeffrey and his older brother Cliff embark on three distinct adventures in their quest—first living for a week with New York City’s homeless, then visiting disabled orphans in Peru, and finally traveling to Ghana to meet people who are dying of AIDS (including an infant) and to visit a leper colony.

Along the way, they interview a number of experts on culture, beliefs, and “the human experience,” and while the brothers never say much about their own spiritual convictions, there’s a fair amount of Christian commentary throughout. Among their interviewees are Makoto Fujimura, a Christian artist, speaker, and founder of the International Arts Movement, and William B. Hurlbut M.D, a physician and Stanford prof who serves on the President’s Council on Bioethics. When asked about the nature of human suffering, Hurlbut brought up the Crucifixion as the example of the ultimate suffering.

In the end, the Azize brothers discovered what they had hoped to find—hope and goodness amidst pain and suffering, all over the world. It’s worth a watch.

Check out the trailer below:


I interviewed these brothers, met them, for several articles that I wrote for a local daily, our diocesan newspaper and for a national Catholic newsweekly. They are incredible, and the movie is so powerful. I am so happy for them that it's going into general release. For a while, they were traveling the country and showing it at one-time venues, like at colleges. Be sure to check out their website to see all the other beautiful things that they have done. The brothers and some others involved in the movie and other productions are part of a wonderful group home/family of young men who don't have anywhere else to live. That story is amazing, too.

I watched The Human Experience, and just loved it. I do not like alot of the movies of today, as alot of them are poorly written, directed, and full of violence, and sex. This documentary/movie got to my heart. It made me realize how much we all take for granted. We are always whining & complaining about petty stuff, and we think we have it bad. This movie shows us how good we actually have it, and how lucky we all are. The music and quotations were really wonderful, and fit in well. The bad things happening in this world, by unconscienced, out of control people, has caused some to lose hope in humanity. This fim has helped give some hope back. I hope they will continue on, making more films.