All That Breathes @ RIDM

This is the first film to win Best Documentary at both Sundance and Cannes. Its festival circuit did not end there as it has screened at many worldwide. Everywhere it has screened, All that Breathes has left its mark on all those who have seen it. It is a powerful film both in subject matter and visuals. It is a film that, in the macro, asks us to consider why we differentiate or make a hierarchy of all inhabitants of this planet that breathe.

A bustling metropolis within the country of India, New Delhi has seen its share of problems of late. Besides the overcrowding and social unrest that has been going on, there is a massive pollution problem. That human-caused pollution does not only affect humans but all other species that live within the city. One of the big ones is the birds. Two brothers living there are attempting to save the Black Kite, a bird of prey that is of vital importance to the ecosystem of New Delhi.

The two brothers noticed that many Black Kites were falling from the skies. These majestic birds are being suffocated by the pollution in the air in the city. Nothing is really being done to help them, despite the important role they play in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem, as many don’t like them due to their predatory ways. The treatment of the birds is shown to echo the discrimination against the Muslim population in the city. So the city’s society and ecosystem both are on the verge of collapse. a solution to both problems has to be sought.

As no one is acting, the brothers decide that they must rescue and rehabilitate them. Soon their whole lives revolve around this undertaking. In the basement of their house, they rehabilitate the Black Kites and other types of birds, as well.

Everything about this film is on point. A marvel for the eyes, the score will delight your ears and is essential for those who want to know more about this planet. Some of the images used here are so powerful I don’t think that I will ever forget them. Also, the two brothers depicted here should be thought of as heroes.

I have always been an animal lover. My whole life. But birds have always kinda frightened me (as they are fairly unpredictable and rather ancient looking); it is only of late that I have begun to recognize their beauty and the essential role they play on the planet. Films like this are essential to gaining an understanding of these creatures that most of us don’t know anything about and also the climate (air and living standards) for humans in a far-removed place like New Delhi.