A film by Dinesh Das Sabu
2016, 57 minutes
No. 084


According to the National Institute of Mental Health, roughly 1% of the US population is affected by schizophrenia, and, there is a proven genetic component to the illness. Some research has also pointed to a link between “acculturative stress” – the kind of stress immigrants experience adjusting to a new life – and the onset of mental illness.

Unbroken Glass is filmmaker Dinesh Das Sabu's attempt to piece together the circumstances surrounding his parents death twenty years ago – at the center of which is his mother’s schizophrenia and suicide.

Traveling to India and across the United States, the film weaves together his journey of discovery (a mismatched marriage, the hardships of immigration, early symptoms unrecognized, a history of mental illness in his family, and especially, how this condition was dealt with in an age and culture where mental illness was often misunderstood) with cinema-verite scenes of his family still coping with their deaths.

Through this powerfully intimate and moving film, Dinesh hopes that his 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.

Winner, Jury Award, Austin Asian American Film Festival
Official Selection, Seattle South Asian Film Festival
Official Selection, Kartemquin Film Festival
Official Selection, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

"This is a special documentary... A fascinating look into how we are caught between influences of our past and present, especially within the life-changing bond of family. Sabu harnesses his intense family story, as being one of five orphaned siblings in a family torn apart by mental illness, into an intimate, emotionally intricate narrative." - RogerEbert.com

"Special mention for Documentary Feature is Unbroken Glass by Dinesh Das Sabu for its great courage and grace documenting a very difficult family history while demonstrating resilience of an Asian American family." - Jury of the Austin Asian American Film Festival

"A moving and important film, highly recommended... Starkly and yet tenderly shot, this is a candid and careful examination of this family’s apparently stoic sufferings and ultimate triumph over a tragic childhood." - LA Splash Magazine