Fowl rehabilitators in India’s capital metropolis, New Delhi, are the topic of a movie that’s the first ever to win the documentary prize at each the Cannes and Sundance movie festivals. The 90-minute movie opens right now, October 21, in New York Metropolis, and it is going to be launched in a number of different cities in the USA and Canada over the subsequent month or so. It is going to be obtainable on HBO and HBO Max someday in 2023.
All That Breathes is the story of two brothers, Nadeem Shehzad and Mohammad Saud, who run a hen clinic of their basement. They battle with a scarcity of funds, with the seemingly fixed stream of birds which might be dropped at them, and with the guilt of not having sufficient time for household.
Regardless of their challenges, we by no means doubt that Nadeem and Mohammad and their volunteer assistant Salik are dedicated to rescuing as many birds as potential. Most of their sufferers are Black Kites — raptors with an unlimited vary all through Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia. We additionally see them caring for different birds of prey and vultures.
We study that Nadeem and Mohammad’s late mom had a saying: “One shouldn’t differentiate between all that breathes.” Her philosophy impressed them to start caring for birds about 20 years in the past and continues to the current day. It’s additionally obvious that her philosophy impressed the movie’s director, Shaunak Sen, not solely with the movie’s title but additionally with its visually gorgeous cinematography. New Delhi is a metropolis of greater than 32 million individuals, and but Sen exhibits quite a lot of wildlife within the metropolis, together with flocks of birds, a turtle, and a tremendous opening shot that I received’t spoil.
At one level, one of many brothers laments the truth that they’ve so many winged sufferers. “A whole bunch of birds falling out of the sky day-after-day. What amazes is individuals go on as if the whole lot’s regular.”
The movie’s narrative implies that New Delhi’s polluted air causes so many birds to “fall out of the sky.” And the critiques that I’ve learn of All That Breathes appear to agree that air pollution is the principle concern, which is sensible, as a result of New Delhi is among the world’s most polluted cities.
Nonetheless, in February 2020, The New York Occasions printed an article in regards to the brothers underneath the headline “Meet the Fowl Medics of New Delhi.” The author, Oliver Whang, explains that folks fly kites made with manja – “cotton thread coated with colourful layers of crushed glass.”
“Manja is commonly used to fly paper kites, a well-liked pastime in India, one which turned an emblem of nationwide satisfaction in New Delhi after the nation gained independence from Britain in 1947,” Whang explains. “On clear days, particularly after monsoon season, when the town’s rooftops are dotted with individuals, kites speckle the sky, their threads forming an invisible cat’s cradle overhead.” One shot within the movie briefly exhibits this launch of kites from rooftops.
Sadly, every year, hundreds of birds’ wings are slashed by the glass in manja. Within the movie, Nadeem, Mohammad, and Salik deal with raptors with bodily accidents, presumably attributable to encounters with manja. I used to be stunned that this wasn’t defined within the movie, however nonetheless, I completely felt the dismay at individuals going about their lives “as if the whole lot’s regular” once we people are inflicting so many environmental calamities all over the world.
Whether or not birds are harmed by manja, polluted air, free-roaming cats, glass home windows, pesticides, overfishing, oil spills, world warming, or every other variety of causes, the threats just about all originate within the human need for extra. Most individuals don’t acknowledge or care to see what is going on, however those that work in wildlife rehabilitation see the results of our folly day-after-day.
I’m ecstatic that this movie will give audiences far and large a glimpse into the world of hen rehabbers, who’re true heroes irrespective of the place on this planet they work. And it’s great that the judges at Sundance and Cannes noticed one thing extraordinary in All That Breathes.
One Sundance juror wrote: “This poetic movie delivers an pressing political story whereas setting up a singular and loving portrait of protagonists resisting seemingly inevitable ecological catastrophe – with humorous touches punctuated by unsentimental depiction of the animal kingdom.”
And in awarding the L’Œil d’or (Golden Eye), the highest prize for documentary movies at Cannes, the jury stated:
“The Golden Eye goes to a movie that, in a world of destruction, reminds us that each life issues, and each small motion issues. You’ll be able to seize your digital camera, it can save you a hen, you’ll be able to hunt for some moments of stealing magnificence, it issues. It’s an inspirational journey in remark of three Don Quixotes who could not save the entire world however do save their world.”
Watch the trailer for ‘All That Breathes’