ALL THAT BREATHESDirected by Shaunak Sen
Grand Jury Prize (World Documentary), 2022 Sundance Film Festival
L’Œil d’or for Best Documentary, 2022 Cannes Film Festival
Golden Firebird Ward (Documentary), 2022 Hong Kong International Film Festival
Shaunak Sen’s award winning documentary follows two brothers in New Delhi as they work to maintain their sanctuary for black kites, a majestic raptor falling from the city’s polluted skies at unprecedented rates. Using anatomical knowledge gained from a previous life as bodybuilders, the brothers tend to wounded birds in a makeshift basement hospital with little outside help.
Nadeem and Saud manage to save thousands of birds, but financial insecurity threatens their modest operation. Meanwhile, the government’s Hindu nationalist agenda looms in the background, signaling hostility and potential danger for the Muslim brothers. When the rescue’s profile rises thanks to a New York Times article, Nadeem pursues a training opportunity in America, leaving the younger, occasionally hapless Saud to step up.
Sen’s languid style and a rippling score by Roger Goula trace the outlines of the brothers’ lives with gentle poetry; sweeping shots of circling kites underscore their beauty and the interconnectedness of life on Earth. In the face of continuing climate inaction, however, and an anti-pluralist social agenda, the existence of these creatures remains precarious—and the stakes of the brothers’ fight to save them have never been higher.