The Reel Review
Two Muslim brothers and their friend in Delhi, India work to conserve the increasingly endangered, predatory black kite – a raptor that helps maintain the city’s ecological balance by scavenging from the city’s landfills – from the polluted city’s worsening living conditions, just as they themselves face a growing tide of anti-Muslim discrimination and violence, in this thought-provoking documentary from director Shaunak Sen.
All That Breathes is at its best when lets its incredible visuals breathe – a single shot just has so much going on, capturing both the vibrancy and squalor of life in Delhi and how wildlife has been forced to adapt to survive. The brothers operate their makeshift bird hospital and sanctuary from a tiny, flood-prone basement in a working-class neighborhood.
The film however, moves VERY slowly – frankly, a bit too slow for most. But still, viewers with the patience will find themselves in a fascinating, immersive experience highlighting both the fragility of life and how nature will always find a way to survive. Capped off by a fascinating closing credits sequence, the documentary is a reminder that there truly is a place in this world’s complex ecosystem for all that breathes.
• All That Breathes is the first film to win for Best Documentary and both the Sundance and Cannes film festivals. It also has received Oscar and BAFTA nominations for Best Documentary Feature Film.
• All That Breathes is the result of more than 300 hours of footage shot over three years.
• The brothers reportedly have rehabilitated more than 20,000 black kites over the past 20 years.
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