After I had finished watching Shaunak Sen’s All That Breathes in January last year, shortly after it was premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, I felt like picking up a camera, rushing out, and shooting something.
It is the kind of film that will inspire someone to make films, which is possibly the highest compliment you can give to a film or a filmmaker. Sen's documentary, which had won the Grand Jury Prize in World Cinema Documentary in Sundance Film Festival last year — winning the top award, a first for India — has, on January 24, won a nomination at the 95th Academy Awards, and this is the second time in a row that India has been nominated in the said category at the Oscars. Last year, Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh's Writing with Fire was the first to pave the way. It is yet another year of excellence for the Indian documentary film.
All That Breathes follows the brothers, Nadeem Shehzad and Mohammad Saud, who rescue injured black kites and treat them out of a basement in their house in Wazirabad in north Delhi. Sen’s film juxtaposes the claustrophobic but intimate world of this basement with the vast expanse of Delhi’s sky and cityscape, which has turned noxious and inhospitable for the city’s human and non-human living beings.