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An Indian Filmmaker Won The Top Documentary Award At Cannes Film Festival This Year

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

While many Indian celebrities made waves with their red carpet outfits at Cannes, an Indian documentary won big at the festival too. ICYMI, India’s only entry at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, Shaunak Sen’s All That Breathes, won the L’Oeil d’Or, also knowns as the top documentary prize.

The 90-minute long documentary follows the lives of siblings Mohammad Saud and Nadeem Shehzad who rescue and treat injured birds out of their delapidated basement in Delhi’s Wazirabad.

The jury, comprising of Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, Ukrainian writer-director Iryna Tsilyk, French actor Pierre Deladonchamps, journalist Alex Vicente, and Moroccan writer-filmmaker Hicham Falah, shared the reason for selecting it as the top documentary in a note that said, “The Golden Eye goes 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.” Previously, Payal Kapadia’s 2021 documentary A Night of Knowing Nothing won the L’Oeil d’Or at Cannes.

This is not the first big prize won by Sen’s documentary. It has also been awarded the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. The movie has been acquired by HBO, following its win at the festival.