”All that Breathes” with Shaunak Sen

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From its lyrical opening shot of rats scurrying across an empty, moonlit lot somewhere in New Delhi, Shaunak Sen’s (“Cities of Sleep”) thoroughly original new documentary “All that Breathes” makes it clear that generous helpings of the cinematically sublime will be served up along with gritty doses of reality. The film follows Nadeem and Saud, two brothers who run a makeshift bird clinic and tend to the ubiquitous black kites of Delhi, which are falling out of the sky at alarming rates. Equal parts character study, environmental/ecological think piece and spiritual contemplation, “All That Breathes” exists in that rare space between the mythological and the all too real.

Shaunak joined Ken on “Top Docs” to discuss the film’s rich visual approach, thought-provoking themes and complex relationships. Sitting in his car stuck in a traffic jam, what inspired Shaunak to go home and immediately begin to research the topic that would lead him to the brothers’ basement clinic? In the midst of the climate change crisis, why did Shaunak find Nadeem and Saud, with their “head down” approach, to be such philosophically interesting figures? And with India’s anti-Muslim fervor creeping ever closer to the brothers’ sanctuary, how did Shaunak figure out the best way to reveal what was happening in the world outside without losing focus on the brothers and their birds? Join us for this engaging conversation with the director of one of the year’s most acclaimed films.

Please note: we apologize for some audio issues experienced during the recording of Shaunak’s interview and ask you to please bear with us.

“All That Breathes” is currently in limited theatrical release and will be on HBO and available for streaming on HBO Max at a date to be announced.

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