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All That Breathes
Institute of Contemporary Arts
February 2023
All that Breathes, dir. Shaunak Sen, India / UK / USA 2022, 94 min., Hindi with English subtitles, 12A


Winner of the Golden Eye for Best Documentary at Cannes and the Grand Jury Prize for Best World Cinema Documentary at Sundance, Shaunak Sen’s beautifully crafted feature follows two Indian brothers as they defy both society and pollution to care for thousands of ailing birds.

New Delhi is one of the world’s busiest cities, a place where cows, rats, monkeys, frogs and hogs jostle cheek-by-jowl with people. Amid this chaos, brothers Mohammad Saud and Nadeem Shehzad fall in love with a bird – the black kite. And from a makeshift bird hospital in their basement, the ‘Kite Brothers’ care for thousands of these mesmerising creatures, which drop daily from the smog-choked skies. As environmental toxicity and civil unrest escalate, the relationship between the Muslim brothers and the neglected black kites forms a poetic chronicle of the city’s collapsing ecology amid rising social tensions.
 
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