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Laramie Movie Scope:
All That Breathes

Guardians of life's wonder

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 6, 2023 – In an underfunded bird rescue operation in a ramshackle building on a run down street in a Muslim neighborhood of Wazirabad, Delhi a couple of brothers work tirelessly year after year saving the lives of kites and other birds who fall from the polluted skies.

This wonderfully filmed HBO documentary captures the strange world around brothers Nadeem Shehzad and Mohammad Saud and their family, as they operate on birds, feed and house them and nurse them back to health. The brothers, along with fellow bird rescue worker, Salik Rehman, play, and argue and sometimes risk their lives to save birds.

In a lot of art films, you dread the slow pan, left or right, because it takes time and usually reveals little or nothing. In this film, the slow pans are worth watching because great things keep showing up that are just out of the frame, until the camera pans over for the reveal. In one amazing shot, a centipede is shown crawling up out of the water, while the reflection of a overhead jetliner passes by.

The cinematography in this film is amazing (by Ben Bernhard, Riju Das and Saumyananda Sahi). The cameras seem to capture every bit of life in the city, from the smallest spider, to the horses, monkeys, camels, pigs, goats and cows that roam the streets. There are animals on the streets you'd never see in a major western city. This is a Hindu city, and the reverence for animals is obvious. For the brothers, however, the reverence for kites goes back to a Muslim tradition that it is good luck to feed the kites.

The brothers rescued their first kite because the local bird hospital refused to take in the bird because it was a non-vegetarian bird. Since then, they have taken in over 20,000 birds. They use a balky meat grinder to process the meat for the more than 100 caged birds in their care.

When the monsoons arrive, water gets into the garage where they work on the birds. People are seen stepping on bricks to keep from getting wet. They spot an injured kite on the far shore of a river, and Mohammad and Salik decide to swim over and rescue it. Nadeem refuses to go and advises against it. Nadeem finally has to swim out and rescue to the two men tire from swimming back with the bird.

After the government passes a citizenship bill that seems to target Muslims for possible deportation, protests and riots erupt in Delhi. Religious riots threaten the neighborhood in another scene. People are killed and houses burned. The brothers stand guard in front of their house, while sending vulnerable family members to safety.

Through all this, and failing finances, the rescue work continues, until, finally, an article about them in the New York Times makes them famous. This changes their situation drastically, leading to a seemingly brighter future for the brothers. But new opportunities are opening up that might also lead the two bothers down different p21ths in the future.

This is one of those stories that you want to follow, to see what happens to these people and their bird rescue hospital. This documentary makes you invested in the lives of these people. It rates an A.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff (no extra charges apply). I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright 2023 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at dalek three zero one nine at gmail dot com [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]