All That Breathes Is A Portrait Of Unimaginable Grace Amidst An Overwhelming Tragedy


Director: Shaunak Sen
Forged: Salik Rehman, Mohammad Saud, Nadeem Shehzad
Cinematographers: Ben Bernhard, Riju Das, Saumyananda Sahi
Editors: Charlotte Munch Bengtsen, Vedant Joshi

One shouldn’t differentiate between all that breathes. Earlier than dying of most cancers, a lower-middle-class Muslim mom in East Delhi imparts this important lesson to her sons. Nadeem Shehzad and Mohammad Saud grow to be residing embodiments of her dictum. The sometimes-warring, sometimes-affectionate brothers, who work with cleaning soap for a residing, grow to be saviours of kites.

These majestic birds of prey are dropping from the sky as a result of the air high quality and visibility within the metropolis is so foul. Nadeem and Mohammad decide up these birds – generally as many as 28 in a day – and have a tendency to them. They bathe, bandage, function on, feed and rehabilitate kites in a dingy, claustrophobic basement and rooftop. It’s a troublesome, relentless job – in a single scene, they’re grinding meat with a broken-down machine within the blistering warmth to feed their many wards. Money reserves are low. And the basement is so cramped that one of many brothers feels that sometime he might need a coronary heart assault in it. And but they persist. As a result of, as they put it, life itself is a kinship.

All That Breathes begins with a shocking three-minute gradual pan throughout a derelict, empty lot. We see mounds of rubbish. And slowly, residing beings emerge. Rats scurry throughout the body as site visitors passes within the background. By means of the documentary, director Shaunak Sen returns to this concept of the precarious steadiness between nature and human beings and the unimaginable methods by which overpopulation and air pollution pressure each to adapt. Later we see mosquitoes, canines, cows, monkeys, pigs, horses, lizards, a frog, a caterpillar and even a turtle someway surviving the city jungle. In the meantime, the birds, who glide over the bustling, bursting capital metropolis, as if they’re swimming, maintain falling down. And Nadeem and Mohammad maintain making an attempt to save lots of them. Early within the movie, one in every of them explains: It’s stated that feeding kites earns sawab, which implies spiritual credit score or reward, as a result of once they eat the meat you supply, they eat away your difficulties.

However there aren’t sufficient birds within the sky to eat away the difficulties of being a Muslim in up to date India. Nadeem and Mohammad’s story performs out towards the backdrop of the CAA protests and riots in North-East Delhi, just a few kilometres from their house. In a heartbreaking scene, Salik, their new helper, is sitting in an autorickshaw with rescued birds and a child squirrel in his pocket when he will get a frantic name asking if he’s nice. In a metropolis that’s self-destructing with spiritual hate and poisonous politics, he’s insistent on taking care of its unvoiced, most weak residents.

All That Breathes isn’t shrill about its issues. Shaunak weaves the numerous threads along with meditative rhythms, restraint and deep compassion. DOPs Benjamin Bernhard, Riju Das and Saumyananda Sahi create photographs of startling magnificence – like one in every of a centipede crawling by way of a dirty puddle, which displays a aircraft flying overhead. We’re frequently reminded that we should discover methods to co-exist. The 93-minute documentary can be enhanced by Roger Goula’s haunting rating, which is sparingly used and fills the frames with an abiding unhappiness.

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As a result of regardless of these few good males, there may be an awesome tragedy enjoying out. On the finish of the movie, I used to be moist-eyed. I cried for the unbelievable grace of those brothers and for the myopic cruelty of the world they dwell in. And for ourselves, as a result of every one in every of us has contributed to creating it. All that Breathes ends with Nadeem trying into the digital camera and asking: Solar pa raha hai mujhe?

We should pay attention earlier than it’s too late.

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