Filmmaker Shaunak Sen's documentary All That Breathes, India's only entry at Cannes Film Festival 2022, has won the 2022 L'Oeil d'Or, the festival's top prize for documentaries.
All That Breathes follows the lives of siblings Mohammad Saud and Nadeem Shehzad who, working out of their derelict basement in Delhi's Wazirabad, rescue and treat injured birds, especially the black kites. It recently had its premiere at Cannes in the Special Screening segment.
"L'Oeil d'Or 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 Quijotes who may not save the whole world but do save their world," the jury said in a note shared on the L'Oeil d'Or website. The award includes a cash prize of 5,000 euros ( TK4.7 lakh approximately).
The 90-minute long film was chosen the winner by the jury, comprising Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, Ukrainian writer-director Iryna Tsilyk, French actor Pierre Deladonchamps, journalist Alex Vicente, and Moroccan writer-filmmaker Hicham Falah. The L'Oeil d'Or documentary award, also known as The Golden Eye award, was created in 2015 by the French-speaking authors' society LaScam in collaboration with the Cannes Film Festival.
All That Breathes had also won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Recently, it was acquired by HBO, a US-based cable network. After its release in the US late this year, the documentary will debut on HBO and streaming service HBO Max in 2023. The 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, which kick-started on May 17, concludes on Saturday.
The jury's Special Award was given to Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius' final film Mariupolis 2, an intimate look at the Russia-Ukraine war. Mantas was allegedly killed by the Russian army while shooting the documentary in April. Mariupolis 2 also had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last week.
In 2021, filmmaker Payal Kapadia won the L'Oeil d'Or for her documentary A Night of Knowing Nothing. The Mumbai-based filmmaker's first feature bagged the prestigious prize in a formidable field made up of 28 documentaries presented across various sections of the festival. A Night of Knowing Nothing screened as part of the Directors' Fortnight, a section that runs parallel to the festival.