All That Breathes, a New Delhi-set documentary from director Shaunak Sen about a pair of brothers dedicated to rescuing birds of prey, has won the L’Œil d’or, or Golden Eye Award, for best documentary at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
Sen’s film follows Nadeem and Saud, two working-class men living in New Delhi who, since 2003, have set up a makeshift bird hospital in their home, caring for birds of prey injured in the highly polluted air above New Delhi. All That Breathes premiered at Sundance, where it won the World Cinema honor for best documentary. HBO Documentary Films picked up the film at Cannes, where it played as a special screening.
The Golden Eye jury, composed of Agnieszka Holland, Iryna Tsilyk, Pierre Deladonchamps, Alex Vicente and Hicham Falah, said they gave their top prize to a film that “in a world of destruction, reminds us that every life matters, and every small action matters. You can grab your camera, you can save a bird, you can hunt for some moments of stealing beauty, it matters. It’s an inspirational journey in observation of three Don Quixotes who may not save the whole world but do save their world.”
The jury’s Special Award went to late Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius’ Mariupolis 2, a follow-up to his 2016 film Mariupolis, an examination of Ukrainian society living under the threat of war. Kvedaravicius was killed by the Russian army during the shooting of Mariupolis 2 in Ukraine. The film was completed by Kvedaravicius’ Ukrainian partner Hanna Bilobrova.
Noted the jury: “our special prize goes to the film impossible to compare with any other from the competition. To the very radical, courageous, artistic and existential statement “Mariupolis 2.” The director Matras Kvedaravicius is among the thousands of civilians killed by the Russian army since the start of the full-scale Putin invasion.”