All That Breathes

Several black kites perch in a shadowy concreted space, a couple of them softly lit by a ray of sunlight.

This film will screen with English subtitles in-house. Subtitles for d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing viewers available when watching online.

In one of the world’s most populated cities, two brothers — Nadeem and Saud — devote their lives to protecting the black kite, a majestic bird of prey essential to the ecosystem of New Delhi, that has been falling from the skies at alarming rates.

Inspired by the ecological philosophy and folk tales recounted by their late mother, who believed that “one shouldn’t differentiate between all that breathes”, the ‘kite brothers’ established a makeshift avian hospital in the basement of their Warizabad Village apartment, from which they have saved the lives of more than 20,000 black kites over the past 20 years. 

Painstakingly edited from around 400 hours of footage, All That Breathes sets no distinction between the human and non-human worlds on screen, meandering between the brothers’ daily work, the birds in their care, and the wider urban ecosystem surrounding them, set against a backdrop of environmental toxicity and rising social unrest. 

Director Shaunak Sen has said of the film’s origin: “We started out by deciding that we would not make a nature doc, we would not make a kind of frontal, political doc, and we would most of all not make a sweet film about nice people doing good things.” 

Instead, All That Breathes is a chronicle of interspecies co-existence, and a call to treat all kin – human and non-human – with equality, dignity and respect. 

Shaunak Sen is a filmmaker and film scholar based in New Delhi, India. Cities of Sleep (2016), his first feature-length documentary, screened at various major international film festivals (including DOK Leipzig, DMZ Docs and the Taiwan International Documentary Festival) and won 6 international awards. His second feature ‘All That Breathes’ (2022) won the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at 2022 Sundance Film Festival and the Golden Eye award for the best documentary at 2022 Cannes Film Festival. It was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Shaunak received the IDFA Bertha Fund (2019), the Sundance Documentary Grant (2019), the Catapult Film Fund (2020),  the Charles Wallace Grant, the Sarai CSDS Digital Media fellowship (2014), and the Films Division of India fellowship (2013). He was also a visiting scholar at Cambridge University (2018) and has published academic articles in Bioscope, Widescreen and other journals.

All That Breathes
Dir. Shaunak Sen
2022, India, 94mins
Hindi with English subtitles

+ post-screening response to the film by Stephen Rutt 

Tickets on a sliding scale:
£5 / £3 / £2 / Free
Ticket guide available here

Watch Online:
1 - 15 November

‘All That Breathes’ is available to book and watch online from 1-15 November. Online viewers can also listen to a recording of local writer and amateur naturalist Stephen Rutt’s short response to the film, which he shared after our in-house screening. 

Stephen Rutt response to the film (recorded at Cample Line, 29 October 2023)

Supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network, and funded by Screen Scotland and National Lottery funding from the BFI