Dogwoof has just announced that they will be releasing Shaunak Sen’s critically acclaimed, award-winning documentary All That Breathes on October 14 -- across the UK and Ireland. The film, directed by Shaunak Sen, documents a pair of Muslim brothers in Delhi who devote countless hours to restore the health of ailing black kite birds. All That Breathes followed up its victory for Best Documentary at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival by winning the top documentary honour L’Œil d’Or (“Golden Eye”) award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the first Indian film to win the world cinema Grand Jury prize.
"As legions of birds fall from New Delhi’s darkening skies, and the city smoulders with social unrest, two brothers race to save a casualty of the turbulent times: the black kite, a majestic bird of prey essential to their city's ecosystem. Amid environmental toxicity and social unrest, the ‘kite brothers’ spend day and night caring for the creatures in their makeshift avian basement hospital," the film's synopsis explains. Shaunak Sen is best known for his 2015 documentary Cities of Sleep, which explored the underworld of vagrants in Delhi, who are forced to look for sleeping spots amidst the city's traffic, overpopulation and corruption. In his latest film, Sen explores the connection between the kite birds and the Muslim brothers who help them return to the skies, offering a mesmerizing chronicle of inter-species coexistence.
While the filmmaker dismissed any political vein in the film, after all the brothers are Muslim in a now militantly Hindu country which condemns all efforts, artistic and otherwise by its Muslim country men and women, All That Breathes can serve as a path in these challenging times.
Notably, in 2017 Delhi’s air was 12 times worse than the second most polluted city in the world, Beijing. Such an extreme environment prompts unprecedented changes in nonhuman life. The brothers depicted in the film are expert witnesses to these remarkable ecological changes. The combined stories of this human-kite ensemble paint an untold picture of life in the world’s most hazardous urban environment. On the one side it tells the story of toxicity -- in the air and among people –- but on the other it shines a light on a remarkable family that chooses to battle on against the backdrop of both. As one of the brothers says in the film, "You don’t care for things because they share the same country, religion or politics. Life itself is kinship. We’re all a community of air. That’s why we can’t abandon the birds."
All That Breathes is a Kiterabbit Films and Rise Films production in collaboration with HHMI Tangled Bank Studios. It will be released by Dogwoof in cinemas in the UK and Ireland from October 14, 2022. Check out their website for more information and venues.