Riz Ahmed, Dev Patel, Judd Apatow, Mira Nair, and Mark Duplass are among the many admirers of the Oscar-nominated documentary All That Breathes, directed by Shaunak Sen. Now you can add the people at Criterion to the movie’s legion of fans.
The film about brothers in Delhi, India who rescue injured birds of prey, especially the black kite, will be added to Criterion’s library, according to an announcement from Sideshow and Submarine Deluxe. “[Criterion] has acquired TVOD rights and will announce details for a future home video release at a later date,” a release stated, noting that the film will be available for purchase or rental on iTunes, Apple, Amazon, and Vudu. All That Breathes is currently available for viewing on HBO and HBO Max.
“Amid environmental toxicity and social unrest, the ‘kite brothers’ spend day and night caring for the creatures in their makeshift avian basement hospital,” a description of the documentary reads. “The film explores the connection between the kites and the Muslim brothers who help them return to the skies, offering a mesmerizing chronicle of inter-species coexistence.”
“It’s so powerful and it’s shot so beautifully,” Apatow observes in a YouTube video featuring some of the entertainment industry’s most prominent creatives. “When you first start watching it, it almost feels scripted because the shots are not composed the way a lot of shots are composed in documentaries.”
To cite but one example, a brief shot in the film starts on a discarded item in field – a plastic carryall that cradles a pool of rainwater. Then on the water’s surface the shadow of an airliner passes through.
“It is so breathtaking,” Patel says of All That Breathes. “It is poetry. I cried, I smiled. This is really beautiful. Every frame is a painting.” Duplass adds, “I haven’t really seen a film that has affected me like this in a few years. The cinema in here is as brilliant as anything I’ve seen from a compositional standpoint.”
In a recent interview with Deadline, the director commented on the striking imagery of All That Breathes.
“To a large degree, that’s of course the incredible magical skill of the cinematographers Ben Bernhard and Riju Das,” Sen told us. “But more than anything else, so often what we call beauty is a function of time. Because if you keep turning up and shooting, at some point life rewards you with accidents. We have our long track shots ready and if out of the blue a deflection of something comes, et cetera, that’s great. So much of documentary is a kind of a radical embrace of the un-scriptedness of the world.”
In 2022, All That Breathes became the first film to win the top prize for documentary at both the Sundance Film Festival and Cannes. It was also named Best Nonfiction Feature at the Cinema Eye Honors, the Gotham Awards, the IDA Awards, and the London Film Festival, among other awards. At the Academy Awards it is nominated alongside All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Fire of Love, A House Made of Splinters, and Navalny.
Earlier today, All That Breathes competed for Best Documentary at the Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, Calif., opposite All The Beauty and the Bloodshed, A House Made of Splinters, Midwives, and Riotsville, U.S.A., with All the Beauty and the Bloodshed coming out on top.
Nominated for an Oscar along with Sen are producers Aman Mann and Teddy Liefer. HBO Documentary Films presents All That Breathes in association with Submarine Deluxe and Sideshow, a Kiterabbit Films and Rise Films production in collaboration with HHMI Tangled Bank Studios.