'Delhi's Political Landscape Seeped Into Film': All That Breathes' Shaunak Sen

Shaunak Sen's film 'All That Breathes' won the Documentary Feature prize at the 32nd Annual Gotham Awards.

2 min read

(This story has been republished from The Quint's archives following the Gotham Awards.)

Shaunak Sen’s film All That Breathes won the Documentary Feature prize at the 32nd annual Gotham Awards. Just earlier in 2022, it also won the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival 2022. Shaunak talks to The Quint about how he chose the subject, his relationship with the city of Delhi, and looking at the city through cinema.

Talking about his vision for the film, Shaunak Sen said, “We were absolutely certain that we didn’t want to make a film on air pollution. We were interested in working on the relationship between the skies and the non-human life in Delhi, and its relationship with two human protagonists.”

All That Breathes follows the journey of two brothers Nadeem and Saud who work with injured black kites, the non-human casualties of Delhi’s ailing ecosystem.

“When you walk into their house, immediately it’s so cinematically surreal and absurd that it’s riveting. Because you have this tiny derelict basement where on one side you have this broadly decayed industrial style landscape and alongside you have these magisterial looking, yet vulnerable birds, like the black kites being treated,” Shaunak Sen revealed.

Shaunak Sen also explains how his previous film Cities of Sleep relates to All That Breathes in the way the films explore the city of Delhi. Shaunak further reveals how the political landscape of Delhi seeped into the frame of All That Breathes.

“When you’re telling the story of a family’s life and you’re interested in painting a well-rounded picture, things bleed in from the outside world to the inner sanctum,” Shaunak said.

Watch the video for more.

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Topics:  Shaunak Sen   All That Breathes 

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