“All That Breathes”


Metacritic (8/10), Letterboxd (4/5), Imdb.com (8/10)

In an age where selfishness has run roughshod over selflessness, it’s comforting to know that there are those out there who have not succumbed to these troubling circumstances. Evidence of that is generously served up in director Shaunak Sen’s poetic, gorgeously filmed documentary about a pair of brothers who run a makeshift animal hospital out of their basement to heal injured birds in India’s capital, New Delhi, a city beset by choking environmental conditions and accelerating political and religious violence. The film is positively beautiful to look at and does tremendous justice to the dedication and compassion of these two wildlife Samaritans. In doing so, the filmmaker offers poignant observations about the connections that bind all of us – both man and animal – to one another, despite whatever petty squabbles or secular considerations might attempt to get in the way, augmented by thoughtful voiceovers, a beautiful, atmospheric score, and stunning cinematography, particularly in its close-up footage of the black kites that the brothers so lovingly nurture back to health. A few segments drag a bit, especially with their inclusion of too much needless incidental footage, but, if that’s the picture’s greatest failing, there’s really little to otherwise fault in this widely decorated release. This is the kind of film that beckons us to heed that age-old advice about taking time to stop and smell the proverbial roses – and to teach us all how to take flight as the truly concerted, humane individuals we’re capable of being.