Directed by Dinesh Das Sabu
Dinesh Sabu and Producer Diane Quon in attendance!
Filmmaker Dinesh Sabu makes his directorial debut with this engrossing, taboo-shattering, revelatory documentary. A multi-year spanning project shot across the United States and in India, UNBROKEN GLASS is a touching low-key assemblage poignantly capturing Sabu’s journey in making sense of the trauma tied to losing both his South Asian immigrant parents at only age six and the silence concerning his mother’s mental illness. Raised by his older siblings with all eyes and efforts on sheer survival, Sabu came into adulthood without much sense of who his parents were and why their lives transpired in such complex ways. The film is a brutally honest and self-reflexive exploration thrusting audiences into the uncomfortable intergenerational waters of mental health stigma.
UNBROKEN GLASS begins with Sabu on a train looking into a mirror through a camera, a fitting opening image for the vulnerable and self-aware film. His four siblings express mixed emotions of suddenly speaking about their family history on camera and one brother even bows out of further interviewing. Sabu weaves together photographs, interviews, and cinéma vérité scenes of his family dealing with still raw emotions and the consequences of his parents’ lives and deaths decades after the fact. In the search of understanding and through conversations with extended family members and friends, surprising and disturbing truths are revealed. But perhaps, the greatest discovery is that which the filmmaker makes in himself. Through fragmented storytelling and reflexivity, the film evokes the instability of dealing with and overcoming trauma and allows viewers to ride alongside Sabu in his inspiring journey.
“I hope that telling my family’s story will raise awareness and reduce the stigma of mental illness, while at the same time empower suicide survivors and families of the mentally ill to share their stories,” said Sabu in a recent interview. Offering a distinctive story on one family’s ordeal with mental health and suicide, UNBROKEN GLASS not only renders visible the pain and suffering that comes with silence, but also how speaking out and storytelling itself are key to healing from the past.
— Sumiko Braun
Dinesh is an independent documentary filmmaker based in Chicago. Unbroken Glass is his first feature documentary. With Kartemquin Films, Dinesh shot part of “American Arab” (2013). He also shot “Waking in Oak Creek” (2014), about the 2012 Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting. Dinesh holds a black belt in Tomiki Aikido and rides a Triumph Bonneville. Dinesh graduated from the University of Chicago in 2006.
Executive Producers: Gordon Quinn, Justine Nagan, Melissa Sage Fadim
Producers: Dinesh Das Sabu, R. Patrick Lile
Director: Dinesh Das Sabu
Cinematographer: Ian Robertson Kibbe
Composer: Joshua Abrams
Editor: Matt Lauterbach
Yoko Okumura / Programmers' Picks / USA / 2016 / 12 minsAt the age of 22, Shohaku found his purpose in life when he committed himself to the practice of Buddhism, and was ordained as a monk. A generation later, his 22-year-old son, Masaki, struggles to find a purpose to devote his life to.
Precedes: Unbroken Glass