“All That Breathes”

A traditional documentary of the cinéma vérité variety, “All That Breathes” is a beautiful story of human kindness towards winged creatures. The film tells the story of two brothers who run a bird hospital in India that’s dedicated to rescuing injured black kites, a prolific raptor that soars high above the rooftops of New Delhi. It’s one of the world’s most populated cities, and the extreme heat, rampant pollution, and choking smog wreaks havoc on the avian species, causing them to fly into high rise buildings, become entangled in wires, and literally drop from the sky. Thousands of birds have been saved thanks to the pure hearts of two men, and director Shaunak Sen‘s film is a touching tearjerker that should be an inspiration to all.

By allowing his camera to observe in real time, Sen puts us right there in the room along with Saud and Nadeem as they race to the aid of dozens of birds of prey. It’s an intimate view of what it takes to run an avian rescue, and the style allows Sen to capture spectacular moments of reality. In their modest, cramped garage, the brothers delicately and lovingly care for the injured raptors with limited equipment and supplies. It’s truly incredible how many animals these men have helped, even if they can’t save them all. They certainly try their best by devoting their lives to care for the injured black kites, and it’s a beautiful display of compassion towards the Earth’s creatures.

The captivating photography transports viewers into a foreign land and really captures the feeling, atmosphere, and sense of place. The film is as politically timely as it is poetic, and director faces head-on the very real threat of climate change and other government restrictions. Despite all obstacles, Saud and Nadeem keep moving forward by working on their mission.

“All That Breathes” is a beautiful story with an equally beautiful storytelling style. It’s a touching documentary that celebrates the very best of humanity, and is an encouraging picture of two men who are working tirelessly to make this world a better place.

By: Louisa Moore

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