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The Air I Breathe
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The Air I Breathe (2007) More at IMDbPro »

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The Air I Breathe -- A drama based on an ancient Chinese proverb that breaks life down into four emotional cornerstones: happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love. A businessman (Whitaker) bets his life on a horse race; a gangster (Fraser) sees the future; a pop star (Gellar) fall
The Air I Breathe -- Clip: Scars
The Air I Breathe -- Clip: New Management
The Air I Breathe -- Clip: Risk
The Air I Breathe -- Clip: Bad Interview


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6.9/10   31,331 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 20% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Jieho Lee (written by) &
Bob DeRosa (written by)
View company contact information for The Air I Breathe on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
13 December 2007 (Greece) See more »
Sometimes the things we can't change...end up changing us. See more »
A drama based on an ancient Chinese proverb that breaks life down into four emotional cornerstones: happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love. A businessman bets his life on a horse race; a gangster sees the future; a pop star falls prey to a crime boss; a doctor must save the love of his life. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Unique, thoughtful, and stunning -- a winner See more (107 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Directed by
Jieho Lee 
Writing credits
Jieho Lee (written by) &
Bob DeRosa (written by)

Produced by
Paul F. Bernard .... associate producer
Emilio Diez Barroso .... producer
Tai Duncan .... executive producer
Bill Johnson .... executive producer
Darlene Caamano Loquet .... producer (as Darlene Caamaño Loquet)
Jose Ludlow .... co-producer
Vance Owen .... associate producer
Christopher S. Pratt .... executive producer (as Christopher Pratt)
Paul Schiff .... producer
Jim Seibel .... executive producer
Original Music by
Marcelo Zarvos 
Cinematography by
Walt Lloyd (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Robert Hoffman 
Casting by
Carla Hool 
Mary Vernieu 
Production Design by
Bernardo Trujillo 
Art Direction by
Rafael Mandujano  (as rafael Mandujano 'Ram')
Set Decoration by
Francisca Maira 
Costume Design by
Michele Michel 
Makeup Department
Gerardo Perez Arreola .... hair assistant (as Gerardo Pérez Arreola)
Ruth Bermudo .... makeup artist
Felipe De Jesus Salazar .... key makeup prosthetics
David DeLeon .... makeup artist: Sarah Michelle Gellar
Lourdes Delgado .... key hair stylist
Eduardo Gómez .... key makeup artist (as Eduardo Gómez Aguilera)
Emi Kamata .... makeup assistant (as Emi Kamata Trejoluna)
Esther Lomeli .... hair assistant (as Esther Lomeli Munguia)
Crissina Lio Nuñez .... hair assistant
Maria Estrella L. Ramirez .... hair assistant
Felipe Moreno Rodriguez .... makeup artist: second unit
Sergio Torres Cuesta .... makeup assistant
Production Management
Mariano Carranco .... unit production manager
Joe Fineman .... post-production supervisor
Ernesto Garabito .... unit manager
Michael Toji .... co-post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Alexander Dahm .... first assistant director: second unit (as Alexander Paul Dahm O.)
Marina Filippelli .... second second assistant director
Patrick Heyerdahl .... second assistant director: second unit (as Patrick Heyerdahl Frederic)
Hiromi Kamata .... second assistant director
Batan Silva .... second unit director (as Sebastian Silva)
Joaquin Silva .... first assistant director
Art Department
Francisco Blanc .... assistant art director (as Francisco Blanc Dominguez)
Pedro Antonio Castillo .... swing
Lazaro Cervantes .... prop assistant (as Lazaro Cervantes Aguilar)
Ana Elena Chanona .... set dresser (as Ana Elena Chanona Z.)
Gilberto Cortes .... property master (as Gilberto Cortés)
Ernesto Cortéz .... on-set dresser (as Ernesto Cortez Paredes)
José Luis Cuevas .... on-set dresser: second unit (as Jose Luis Cuevas)
Juan Manuel de la Fuente .... leadman (as Juan de la Fuente Merino)
Israel Delgado Rivera .... graphic designer (as Israel 'Ras' Delgado)
Hana Espinoza .... art department coordinator
Carlos Gamboa .... set designer (as Carlos Adalid Gamboa S.)
Sergio Ernesto Garcia M. .... graphic designer #2
Enrique Garcia Mejia .... swing
Jose Garcia Mejia .... swing
Pablo Martinez Garcia .... set dressing warehouse keeper (as Pablo Martínez Garcia)
William Hawa .... props assistant
Alfonso Lopez .... construction coordinator (as Aldonzo Joel López G.)
Aristeo Ruiz Lugo .... prop assistant (as Aristeo Ruíz Lugo)
Abraham Martinez .... construction foreman (as Abraham Martínez Méndez)
Gerardo Martínez .... swing (as Gerardo Martínez Barrera)
Hana Matsumoto .... art department coordinator
Fabriela Matus López .... set dresser
Fabrizio Montenegro .... on-set dresser
Mariana Robles Castañeda .... art department production assistant
Mauricio Serrano Aleman .... prop buyer
José Vega López .... swing
Mauricio Waldo .... on-set dresser
Elvis Strange .... art director: refilmed scenes (uncredited)
Sound Department
Gregg Barbanell .... foley artist
Michael Broomberg .... foley artist
Jonathan Coomes .... foley editor
Alan Freedman .... adr mixer
Robert Getty .... supervising sound editor (as Rob Getty)
Danielle Ghent .... dialogue editor (as Danielle Fiorello)
Justin Herman .... sound stage technician
Chato Hill .... assistant sound editor
Eric Justen .... sound re-recording mixer
Michael Kamper .... sound effects editor
Chris Navarro .... adr mixer
Jeffrey Perkins .... sound re-recording mixer
Eric Raber .... sound effects editor
Leon Sandoval .... boom operator
Steve Schatz .... sound recordist
Alec St. John .... sound designer
Alec St. John .... supervising sound editor
Lucy Sustar .... foley mixer
James Wright .... sound consultant: dolby
Special Effects by
Marco Antonio Castillo .... special effects assistant
Manuel Cordero .... special effects coordinator (as Manuel Cordero Pérez)
Raymundo Rodríguez .... special effects assistant
Visual Effects by
Jonathan Amerikaner .... drs operator: Modern VideoFilm (as Johnathan Amerikaner)
Suzette Barnett .... compositor: Entity FX
Chad E. Beck .... visual effects post supervisor: Stargate Digital (as Chad Beck)
Mat Beck .... visual effects supervisor: Entity FX
Roger Ames Berger .... iq artist: Modern VideoFilm
Adrian Colbert .... digital intermediate scanner: Modern VideoFilm
Elona Culwell .... visual effects coordinator: Modern VideoFilm
Todd Daugherty .... head of technology: Entity FX
Adam Ealovega .... digital compositing supervisor: Stargate Digital
J. David Everhart .... visual effects coordinator: Stargate Digital
Darren Frankel .... SVP/GM: Stargate Digital
Rizza Go .... visual effects coordinator: Entity FX
Jay Grunfeld .... compositor: Entity FX
William Higgins .... compositor: Entity FX
Yoshiko Hirata .... compositor: Entity FX
Eli Jarra .... senior compositor: Entity FX
Kent Johnson .... visual effects supervisor: Stargate Digital
Jared Jones .... 2D compositor: Stargate Digital
Jason Korber .... lead compositor: Stargate Digital
Mike Leeming .... visual effects editor: Stargate Digital
Casey Leming .... electronic graphics operator: Modern VideoFilom
Don Libby .... 3D artist: Entity FX
Kymber Lim .... visual effects executive producer: Entity FX
Carl Loeffler .... head of engineering: Entity FX
Karen McCarthy .... drs operator: Modern VideoFilm
Anthony Ocampo .... 3D artist: Stargate Digital
Rik Panero .... I/O manager: Entity FX
Brian Petras .... compositor: Entity FX
Tricia Pifer .... visual effects producer: Entity FX
Jeremy Renteria .... junior compositor: Entity FX
Rouha Sadighi .... visual effects assistant coordinator: Entity FX
Rasoul Shafeazadeh .... matte painter: Stargate Digital
Michael Shermis .... roto artist: Entity FX
Jason Sperling .... visual effects editor: Stargate Digital
Christina Spring .... compositor: Entity FX (as Christina Garranchan)
Susan Stewart .... matte painter: Stargate Digital
Marty Taylor .... visual effects supervisor: Entity FX
Ed Thompson .... digital imaging manager: Modern VideoFilm
Patrick Thompson .... 2D compositor: Stargate Digital
Manny Wong .... 3D artist: Entity FX
Zeljko Barcan .... visual effects (uncredited)
Pharoah Barrett .... 3D artist (uncredited)
Aaron N. Leichter .... visual effects production assistant: Entity FX (uncredited)
Viet Nguyen .... systems engineer: Entity FX (uncredited)
Earl Paraszczynec .... 3D lead (uncredited)
Nate Smalley .... I/O coordinator (uncredited)
Jaison Stritch .... visual effects supervisor (uncredited)
Takashi Takeoka .... digital compositor (uncredited)
Alejandro Avendano .... stunts (as Alejandro Avedaño)
Wilebaldo Bucio Montemayor .... stunt double
Julian Bucio .... stunt coordinator
Alejandro de la Peña .... stunts
Gabriel Godínez .... stunts (as Gabriel Godinez Leon)
Jermaine Holt .... stunt double: Happiness
Joan Seuora Morales .... stunts
Alonso Rosado F. .... stunts: martial arts (as Alonso Rosado Franco)
Ricardo Vadillo Pineda .... stunts
Pablo Vinós .... stunts (as Pablo Vinos Zelaya)
Hugo Aguilera .... stunt double (uncredited)
Toni Bucio .... utility stunts (uncredited)
Gabriel Godínez .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Catherine Abitbol .... still photographer
Víctor Acosta Sánchez .... electrician
Pascual Alvarado Bravo .... rigging electrician
Josue Alvarez .... loader (as Josué Alvarez Leon)
Salvador Anacleto Sánchez .... generator operator
Ricardo Arvizu .... grip rigger (as Ricardo A. Arvizu Solis)
Miguel Avilez Betancourt .... video assist operator (as Miguel Aviles Betancourt)
Victor Manuel Camacho .... 24 fps playback operator (as Victor M. Camacho)
Tiburcio Carabes .... generator operator (as Tiburcio Cabares Paredes)
Arturo Castañeda .... additional first assistant camera: second unit (as Arturo Vastañeda Corona)
Joaquin Cervera .... first assistant camera: "b" camera
Chuy Chávez .... additional director of photography: second unit (as Jesus Chavez)
Guillermo Diaz Perez .... technician: HMI/Kinos (as Guillermo Díaz Pérez)
José Miguel Enriquez .... additional first assistant camera: second unit (as Jose Miguel Enriquez Bautista)
Edgar Ambriz Espinoza .... rigging electrician
Sergio Flores Alarcon .... dolly grip: "b" camera (as Sergio Flores Alarcón)
Sergio Flores Alarcon .... dolly technician (as Sergio Flores Akarcón)
Alfredo Garcia Aquino .... camera crane operator
Carlos Gris .... technician: Panavision (as Carlos Claudio Gris)
Wilma Gómez Luengo .... first assistant camera: "a" camera (as Wilma Gómez)
Victor Hernandez Romero .... electrician
Víctor Hernández .... first assistant camera: second unit (as Victor M. Hernandez Valdivia)
Javier Labastida .... grip
Dariela Ludlow .... second assistant camera: "a" camera
Gerardo Manjarrez .... camera operator: "b" camera (as Martin Gerardo Manjarrez)
Gerardo Manjarrez .... steadicam operator (as Martin Gerardo Manjarrez)
Armando Medina .... assistant: video assist operator (as Armando Medina Parra)
Juan Carlos Morale Ortiz .... mobile operator: second unit
Felipe Morales .... grip (as Felipe Morales Macías)
Fernando Moreno .... gaffer
Miguel Angel Nava .... grip (as Miguel Angel Nava Juárez)
Eliseo Orozco .... second assistant camera: second unit (as Eliseo Orozco Luna)
Juan Pablo Ortigosa M. .... second assistant camera: "b" camera
Raúl Palacios .... electrician (as Raúl Palacios Domínguez)
Fernando Peralta Ángeles .... hothead operator (as Fernando Peralta Angeles)
Ignacio Peña Rosales .... generator operator: second unit
Pedro Reyes Esquivias .... mobile tech assistant
Pedro Reyes Hernández .... mobile technician
Jaime Reynoso .... director of photography: second unit (as Jaime Reyoso Rodriguez)
Jesús Rodríguez Barajas .... key grip (as Jesus Rodríguez Barajas)
Juan Manuel Rodríguez .... grip (as Juan Manuel Rodríguez B.)
Jesús Romero .... dolly grip (as Jesus 'Kimba' Romero)
Tim Ross .... camera operator: "a" camera
Jose Luis Sanchez Pineda .... camera crane operator
Antonio Sánchez Romero .... rigging gaffer (as Antonio Sanchez)
Carlos Sánchez .... best boy electric (as Carlos Amador Sánchez)
Miguel Ángel Sánchez .... grip (as Miguel Angel Sanchez R.)
Jose Luis Vasquez Millan .... mobile assistant: second unit
Jason Garcia .... first assistant camera: additional photography (uncredited)
Casting Department
Alejandro Ayala .... casting coordinator
Barbara Harris .... adr voice casting
Claudia Schwab .... extras casting assistant
Julio Toledo .... extras casting coordinator: Mexico (as Julio Toledo Breton)
Rodrigo Urbano .... assistant casting director: Mexico
J.C. Cantu .... casting associate (uncredited)
Lindsay Graham .... casting assistant (uncredited)
Venus Kanani .... casting associate (uncredited)
Tammy Neill .... extras casting agent: DreamCast (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Carlos Brown .... assistant: costume designer
Edgar Neri Dominguez .... costumer
Griselda Garcia .... costumer (as Griselds García Alamilla)
Laura González .... costumer (as Laura M. Gonzalez R.)
Florinda Gutierrez Ruiz .... seamstress
Fausto Jardon .... tailor (as Fausto Jardón Camargo)
Fabiola Martinez Martinez .... costumer
Mónica Neumaier .... costume supervisor
Jaime Ortiz .... key set costumer (as Jamie Ortiz Domínguez)
Claudia Cristal Valencia Noguez .... costumer
Alma Magaña .... costumer (uncredited)
Becke Shulman .... costume department assistant (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Walt Bigelow .... digital intermediate technical services: Modern VideoFilm
Shawn Broes .... digital intermediate editor: Modern VideoFilm
Karl T. Hirsch .... promo editor
John Paul Horstmann .... first assistant editor
Skip Kimball .... colorist
Zara Park .... digital intermediate supervisor (as Zara Roberts)
Mathieu Reid .... color timer
Pat Repola .... vice president: post-production, Modern VideoFilm
Mark Smirnoff .... post-production executive: Modern VideoFilm
Nicholas Wenger .... post-production coordinator (as Nick Wenger)
Robert Vertrees .... post-production assistant (uncredited)
Music Department
Pete Anthony .... conductor
Sebastian Arocha Morton .... composer: additional music
Sebastian Arocha Morton .... music programmer (as Sebastian Arocha-Morton)
Ethan Berger .... music consultant
Christine Bergren .... music clearance
Gustavo Borner .... scoring mixer
Debbi Datz-Pyle .... music contractor: The Music Team
Bruce Dukov .... concert master
Matt Franko .... music preparation
Jimmy Johnson .... musician: bass
Julianne Jordan .... music supervisor
Sonny Kompanek .... orchestrator
Argel Kota .... musician: drums
Tim Lauber .... score recordist
Daniel Levy .... score preparation
Dean Parks .... musician: guitar
Francesco Perlangeli .... scoring stage manager
Victor Pesavento .... music preparation
Stacey Robinson .... score studio director
Lee Scott .... assistant music editor
Tom Steel .... scoring stage manager
Erich Talaba .... protools engineer
Bill Talbott .... scoring stage engineer (as Bill Talbot)
Joshua Winget .... music editor
Marcelo Zarvos .... music score producer
Marcelo Zarvos .... musician: piano
Gina Zimmitti .... music contractor: The Music eam
Mark Graham .... music librarian (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Antonio Flores .... driver (as Juan Antonio Flores)
Javier Gunther .... transportation coordinator
Gustavo Hernandez .... driver (as Gustavo Hernández)
Fermín Lara .... dispatcher (as Fermin Lara Hernandez)
Victor Manuel Mandujano .... driver
Joaguín Mendoza .... driver
Arturo Mercado .... driver
José Merced Flores .... driver: special effects truck
Héctor Montoya .... driver
Alberto Nolasco Molina .... driver
Renato Cristian Pérez .... driver
Vicente Pérez .... driver
Xavier Rodriguez Quiriarte .... transportation captain
Sergio Reyes .... picture car coordinator
Francisco Rodriguez .... driver
Ricardo Romero Sánchez .... driver
Rogelio Sanchez Rodriguez .... driver
Jorge Sandoval .... driver
Victor Sandoval .... driver
Oscar Urrutia .... driver
Other crew
Maria Dolores Acosta Sanchez .... accounting assistant
Emilio Damian Aguilar Andrade .... set production assistant: second unit
Alejandro Aguilar Z. .... dailies coordinator
Victor Manuel Alcantra .... craft service assistant
Jesus Alegria Talamantes .... set medic
Andrea Araiz .... assistant: Sarah Michelle Gellar
Gerardo Rene Arellano .... set production assistant: second unit
Jorge Banda .... craft service assistant
Juan Banda .... craft service assistant
Shehene Bedran .... security: Sarah Michelle Gellar, U.S., Galahad Security
Michele Boudreau .... production accountant: U.S.
Patrick Calderon .... production coordinator: U.S.
Luis Humberto Carretero .... craft service assistant
Maury Carvajal .... script supervisor
Javier Cendejas Burgos .... additional set production assistant: New Mexico/U.S.
Paola Cesarman .... assistant: Emile Hirsch
Martin Corkidi .... location manager: "A"
Robert Darwell .... production legal: Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton
Jonathan Davenport .... storyboard artist
Lisa Driehuis .... set production assistant
Maria Elena Fayado Sanchez .... set production assistant: second unit
Kathy Fisher .... assistant: Andy Garcia
Florentina French .... dialogue coach
Lucia Mariana Gaja Ferrer .... script supervisor: second unit
Edgar Gallaga .... additional set production assistant (as Edgar Gallaga Amador)
Alexis Garcia .... production legal: Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton
Juan Carlos Garcia .... accounting assistant
Kelli Gillam .... accountant: post production, Post Accountants
Gail Glaser .... representative: Screen Acrtors Guild
Noralí Gonzalez .... assistant: Jieho Lee (as Norali González)
Pamela B. Green .... titles: PIC Agency
Luis Manuel Guerrero .... craft service assistant
Miguel Gurza .... animal handler
Elsa Hermoso .... production accountant: Mexico
Joceline Hernandez .... set production assistant
Blanca Hurtado .... payroll accountant (as Blanca T. Hurtado)
Blanca Hurtado .... payroll accountant
Glenn Jepson .... telecine: Etertainment Post
Alejandro Juárez H. .... security: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mexico
Ashley Kravitz .... clearance coordinator
Tanya Leal Soto .... assistant: Forest Whitaker
Alejandro Martinez Flores .... location assistant
Andrea Martínez Crowther .... additional script supervisor: second unit (as Andrea Martinez Cronther)
Yhara Mejia Sánchez .... assistant: Jose Ludlow (as Yhara Mejía Sánchez)
Yhara Mejia Sánchez .... assistant: Jose Ludlow
Clemente Mesinas .... caterer
Susan Mieras .... assistant: Kevin Bacon
Olga Millán .... representative: A.N.D.A.
Columbia Moya .... choreographer (as Colombia Moya)
Agustin Munoz .... location manager: "B" (as Augustin Muñoz)
Norberto Nava .... security coordinator
Juan Carlos Navarro .... set production assistant
Robert Nickson .... production consultant
Maria de Lourdes Nuñez Flores .... accounting assistant
Fernando Ocampo .... set medic (as Dr. Fernando Ocampo)
Mario Olivares .... security: Brendan Fraser (as Mario Olivares Fuentes)
Felicia Ortiz Rodriguez .... craft service assistant
Maria del Pilar Ortiz Rodriguez .... craft service assistant
Monica Ovando Shilley .... assistant production coordinator: Mexico (as Monica Ovando Shelley)
Gilberto Oviedo .... additional set production assistant (as Gilberto Oviedo Hernandez)
Ricardo Palacio .... assistant: Emilio Diez Barroso and Darlene Cammaño Loquet
Mario Palestina Ayala .... craft service assistant (as Mario Palestina)
Nicolás Polito .... craft service assistant (as Nicolas Polito)
Walter Vega Puig .... production assistant: Mexico
Cristian Quiroz Bobadilla .... craft service coordinator
Alberto Rebollo .... assistant location manager: Uruguay
Mario Renteria .... craft service assistant
Eduardo 'Lalo' Ruiz Fernandez .... key set production assistant (as Eduardo Ruiz Fernández)
Magali Sagarra .... assistant: Paul Schiff
Arturo Saldivar .... office production assistant: Mexico (as Arturo Saldívar)
Agustin Salgado .... craft service assistant
Jaime Santos Ramirez .... set production assistant: second unit
Mark Shultz .... production coordinator: Mexico
Paula Sosa .... additional production assistant (as Paula Lucia Sosa Alcantara)
Jarik Van Sluijs .... titles: PIC Agency
Victor Manuel Vargas .... security: Forest Whitaker (as Víctor Vargas)
Héctor Villegas .... additional set production assistant (as Hector Villegas Gallaga)
Marsella Vásquez J. .... assistant: Brendan Fraser
Dana Wilkey .... product placement: Adwil Agency
Patricia Zavala Kugler .... unit publicist
Michael Barnes .... financial legal services (uncredited)
Matthew Cassel .... location manager: Los Angeles unit (uncredited)
Ray Felipe .... script researcher (uncredited)
Julio Ferrario .... creative director: main titles (uncredited)
Michael J. Harker .... completion bond company representative (uncredited)
Dan Karcher .... website producer (uncredited)
Rudy Scalese .... Production Executive Nala Films (uncredited)
Traceigh Scottel .... production coordinator: re-shoots (uncredited)
Nils Larsen .... personal thanks
Rodrigo Ojeda .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for violence, language and some sexual content/nudity
95 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Fingers and Love never interact with each other.See more »
Revealing mistakes: When "Fingers" shoots "Pleasure" in his apartment and and they show a close up on the ejected brass hitting the carpet, it is obvious that the brass is from a blank. It has the "crimped" end on it where it was sealed.See more »
[first lines]
Happiness:I always wondered, when a butterfly leaves the safety of its cocoon, does it realize how beautiful it has become? Or does it still just see itself as a caterpillar?
See more »
Movie Connections:
References Krull (1983)See more »
GunsSee more »


Why didn't Sorrow escape? Doesn't she have a lot of money for being a pop star and all?
Why did pleasure hand over a gun to Happiness?
What is the timeline in this film?
See more »
276 out of 360 people found the following review useful.
Unique, thoughtful, and stunning -- a winner, 12 May 2007
Author: larry-411 from United States

The Air I Breathe is stunning in many ways. It should be established right from the start that this is not a movie which allows you to check your brain at the door. It demands attention and thought. Director Jieho Lee and co-writer Bob DeRosa have crafted an intriguing work which leaves more questions than answers. And, after all, that is what art should aspire to do.

The film is based on a Chinese proverb which says that life consists of four emotions: Happiness, Pleasure, Sorrow, and Love. To be whole one must experience each emotion, and by doing so we are interconnected with all other human beings. The film itself is structured in the same fashion, with each of four segments focusing on those ideas. The lead actors portray those emotions one by one. Forest Whitaker is Happiness, Brendan Fraser is Pleasure, Sarah Michelle Gellar is Sorrow, and Kevin Bacon is Love. They anchor the four segments of the film, while the rest of the magnificent ensemble cast weaves in and out of the narrative.

The idea is somewhat fuzzy at first. This is an unconventional story with a similarly unique style. Unlike most films, the major characters don't really have major arcs in story line or performance. While some may find a couple of the actors a bit deadpan, they pretty much are solid throughout while consistent in their characterizations. Whitaker and Fraser especially fit that description. Both are quite stoic in their roles, but that's what the story demands. Sarah Michelle Gellar may be the exception. She is the one who has to display a wide range of emotions, more than the others. Her character is quite tortured and goes through a lot emotionally and physically. Gellar is a very brave actress who took risks and put her heart and soul into it. She is sure to surprise many people. Bacon is a delight and is perfectly cast as a would-be hero. Andy Garcia is a chilling and devilish nemesis throughout, while Emile Hirsch provides some comic relief in his brief appearance.

The script is filled with poetic statements, hearkening back to the Chinese proverb on which the story is based. Each segment's main character provides voice-over. And while the language is somewhat oblique, the dialogue is quite blunt and to the point.

Visually it is breathtaking, with broad sweeping images interspersed with numerous gritty close-ups of tragedy. The Air I Breathe has the look of a big budget film, although it is not. Watch for some fascinating visual effects. Hand-held with close-ups is used for some of the more chilling parts and creates tension. Hitchcock would be proud.

Surprises occur at every step of the way. One of the most startling aspects of this film is that there are moments when one may think, "No, that won't happen." And then it does. It's hard to watch at times and quite violent. There's sadness and tension. But there is also an amazingly clever use of humor in the film, and that is perhaps what is most surprising. But that's what life is. The soundtrack plays a major role in this movie, as if another character. It has an Asian feel, not just because of the filmmaker's background but because the film is based on that Chinese proverb. It was quite haunting.

The Air I Breathe is, at its heart, a character piece which follows a general theme. Seems simple. On the face of it, it plays out like a crime drama. But there's more to it, and it takes patience and thought to get to the point of it. Not everyone will be able to do that. But it is definitely worth the effort.

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