Hen 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 as we speak, October 21, in New York Metropolis, and it is going to be launched in a number of different cities in the US and Canada over the subsequent 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 hen clinic of their basement. They wrestle with a scarcity of funds, with the seemingly fixed stream of birds which can 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 enormous 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 folks, and but Sen reveals 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. “Tons of of birds falling out of the sky each day. What amazes is folks go on as if every part’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 evaluations that I’ve learn of All That Breathes appear to agree that air pollution is the principle challenge, 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 revealed an article in regards to the brothers underneath the headline “Meet the Hen 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 commonly used to fly paper kites, a preferred pastime in India, one which grew to become 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 folks, kites speckle the sky, their threads forming an invisible cat’s cradle overhead.” One shot within the movie briefly reveals 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 folks going about their lives “as if every part’s regular” once 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 every other variety of causes, the threats nearly all originate within the human want for extra. Most individuals don’t acknowledge or care to see what is going on, however those that work in wildlife rehabilitation see the implications of our folly each 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 regardless of the place on this planet 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 possibly can seize your digicam, it can save you a hen, you possibly can hunt for some moments of stealing magnificence, it issues. It’s an inspirational journey in remark of three Don Quixotes who might not save the entire world however do save their world.”
Watch the trailer for ‘All That Breathes’
Upcoming releases for ‘All That Breathes’
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