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 at present, October 21, in New York Metropolis, and it will likely be launched in a number of different cities in america and Canada over the following month or so. It is going to be accessible 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 fowl clinic of their basement. They battle with an absence 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 doable. 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 beautiful 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 an incredible opening shot that I received’t spoil.
At one level, one of many brothers laments the truth that they’ve so many winged sufferers. “Tons of of birds falling out of the sky every single day. What amazes is individuals go on as if every thing’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 opinions that I’ve learn of All That Breathes appear to agree that air pollution is the primary problem, which is smart, as a result of New Delhi is without doubt one of the world’s most polluted cities.
Nonetheless, in February 2020, The New York Instances revealed an article in regards to the brothers beneath the headline “Meet the Fowl Medics of New Delhi.” The author, Oliver Whang, explains that individuals fly kites made with manja – “cotton thread coated with colourful layers of crushed glass.”
“Manja is usually used to fly paper kites, a well-liked pastime in India, one which turned a logo of nationwide delight in New Delhi after the nation gained independence from Britain in 1947,” Whang explains. “On clear days, particularly after monsoon season, when 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, 1000’s of birds’ wings are slashed by the glass in manja. Within the movie, Nadeem, Mohammad, and Salik deal with raptors with bodily accidents, presumably brought on by encounters with manja. I used to be shocked that this wasn’t defined within the movie, however nonetheless, I completely felt the dismay at individuals going about their lives “as if every thing’s regular” after we people are inflicting so many environmental calamities around the globe.
Whether or not birds are harmed by manja, polluted air, free-roaming cats, glass home windows, pesticides, overfishing, oil spills, international warming, or another 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 occurring, however those that work in wildlife rehabilitation see the implications of our folly every single day.
I’m ecstatic that this movie will give audiences far and extensive a glimpse into the world of fowl rehabbers, who’re true heroes irrespective of the place on the earth they work. And it’s fantastic 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 establishing 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 digicam, it can save you a fowl, you may 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’