All That Breathes nominated for Best Documentary

All That Breathes nominated for Best Documentary

A documentary film about bird rehabilitators in India’s capital is among five nominees for Best Documentary Feature of 2022. anything that breathes hit theaters in October and is expected to be available on HBO Max this year (no date has been announced).

If it wins, it will become the second Oscar-winning bird-themed documentary after March of the Penguinsreleased in 2005. (Over the decades, a few bird-themed animated films have won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature or Best Animated Short, including happy feet in 2006 and Piper in 2016.)

I’m not surprised by today’s news. After all, anything that breathes was the first film to win the documentary award at the Cannes and Sundance festivals, and I’ve seen nothing but rave reviews from film critics.

This praise is absolutely deserved, and if the movie wins, I’ll be thrilled for everyone who made it. It’s a beautiful film with stunning cinematography, and we as audiences can’t help but support its protagonists, brothers Nadeem Shehzad and Mohammad Saud, who run an animal clinic on a shoestring budget in the crowded city of New Delhi. Bird rehabilitators around the world are doing heroic work that tends to be overlooked, and the fact that bird rehabilitators are the focus of an Oscar-nominated film is incredible.

That said, as I pointed out in my review of anything that breathes a few months ago, the film offers a misleading account of why so many birds, especially black kites, “fall from the sky” and require the care of Nadeem, Mohammad and their assistant Salik. The implication offered on screen is that air pollution makes birds sick, and this explanation was repeated in almost every review I read of the film. But according to a 2020 New York Times According to the brothers’ story, the birds are injured because the townspeople fly kites made from manja – “cotton thread covered in colored layers of crushed glass”. The glass cuts off the birds’ wings, rendering them unable to fly.

I don’t know why director Shaunak Sen left this detail out of the film’s narrative. To me, that’s a big omission, because air pollution is a huge problem in one of the most polluted cities on the planet. But it seems to me that people could make their kites out of something other than crushed glass, which wouldn’t threaten the birds of the city as much. anything that breathes But that doesn’t even hint at this possible solution, which seems like a missed opportunity.

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If you get the chance to see the movie, I highly recommend it. Personally, I’m a bit disappointed, but it’s great to have a highly decorated film highlighting bird rehabilitators.