All That Breathes
The air in New Delhi is so polluted that birds of prey are falling from the skies. Notable amongst the casualties are the megacity’s ubiquitous black kites—so named for their ability to gracefully soar. Two brothers from a Muslim family—former bodybuilders Nadeem Shehzad and Mohammad Saud—have dedicated the past two decades of their lives to taking in over 20,000 black kites through the Wildlife Rescue clinic that they established in their garage. Treating record numbers of ill and injured birds, Nadeem, Saud, and their endearingly curious volunteer assistant Salik strive to keep the operation afloat despite understaffing and funding issues. Meanwhile, political tensions loom over their neighbourhood as ominously as the smog.
Bolstered by incredible soundscapes and breathtaking cinematography that casts Delhi’s ecology in an otherworldly light, Shaunak Sen’s sophomore documentary provides intriguing insights into animals’ behavioural adaptations to a polluted urban environment. A deeply moving story of devotion to birds, All That Breathes delivers a powerful meditation on the climate crisis and the interconnectedness of all living organisms.
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary, Sundance 2022; Oeil d’or Award for Best Documentary, Cannes 2022
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David Guy Elisco, Sean B. Carroll
Shaunak Sen, Aman Mann, Teddy Leifer
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Shaunak Sen is a filmmaker and film scholar based in New Delhi, India. Cities of Sleep (2016), his first feature-length documentary, was shown at various international film festivals including DOK Leipzig, DMZ International Documentary Film Festival, and the Taiwan International Documentary Festival, and won six international awards. Sen received the IDFA Bertha Fund, the Sundance Documentary Grant, the Catapult Film Fund, the Charles Wallace Grant, the Sarai CSDS Digital Media fellowship, and the Films Division of India fellowship. He was also a visiting scholar at Cambridge University and has published academic articles in Bioscope, Widescreen, and other journals.
Filmography: Cities of Sleep (2016)