A Night of Knowing Nothing

A Night of Knowing Nothing

Director: Payal Kapadia
Country: India, France

2021 | 96 min. | Hindi, Bengali
Subtitles: English, German

Cast_ Bhumisuta Das Screenplay_ Payal Kapadia, Himanshu Prajapati Camera_ Ranabir Das Producer_ Ranabir Das, Julien Graff, Thomas Hakim Rights_ Square Eyes

A hypnotic dream in black and white: This essayistic documentary interweaves intimate love letters with the chronology of student protests in India.

The edges of the picture are dark and blurred, like in a silent film; only in the middle do things come to light. In an empty kitchen, two slices of bacon hit the pan with a hiss. Here, in the residence hall of the Film and Television Institute, room S18, a box of love letters has been found, signed with the letter L. A voice-over reveals their contents: a young woman tells of her longing, fear and increasing exhaustion. Slowly and subtly, the political realm enters the delicate dream-like narrative in shots of public demonstrations against injustice, discrimination and violence. Everything is interrelated: love, the struggles and the dreams in the lives of present-day youth in India. This hypnotic cinematic essay received the award for best documentary at Cannes.


Payal Kapadia was born in Mumbai in 1986. She earned a degree in economics and studied film directing at the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune. Her short films have screened at numerous film festivals, including Cannes and the Berlinale. ›A Night of Knowing Nothing‹ is her first feature film.


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