A Night of Knowing Nothing 2021

Toute une nuit sans savoir

Directed by Payal Kapadia Diwali Lights

A university student in India writes letters to her estranged lover, affording audiences a glimpse into the drastic changes taking place around her.

Nov 09

City Gallery Wellington

Nov 13

Light House Cuba

Nov 16

Light House Cuba

India In Bengali and Hindi with English subtitles
97 minutes DCP
E
documentary film exempt from NZ Classification labelling requirements

Director

With

Bhumisuta Das

Producers

Ranabir Das
,
Julien Graff
,
Thomas Hakim

Screenplay

Payal Kapadia
,
Himanshu Prajapati

Cinematography, Editor

Ranabir Das

Sound

Moinak Bose
,
Romain Ozanne

Festivals

Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight)
,
Toronto
,
New York 2021

Awards

Golden Eye
,
Cannes Film Festival 2021

“One of the year’s most electrifying debuts – and winner of the best documentary award at Cannes – Payal Kapadia’s hybrid feature A Night of Knowing Nothing is a fever dream of impossible love tied to a broader reflection on contemporary India. Structured around letters from an unseen protagonist, L, directed to her estranged lover, K, Kapadia’s film is at once grand and contained, weaving fragments of a romance and moments of domestic life with handheld documentary footage captured around the country over several years.

In this fervent cinétract on love and revolt, which doubles as a love letter to cinema itself, essayistic and epistolary forms suffuse the burnished, chiaroscuro images with both yearning and introspection. Utilizing a variety of formats and formal approaches in service of an entrancing, cohesive whole, the film offers a rich and sensual interplay between sound and image that heightens its atmospheric textures. The dialectic of presence and absence fuels the paradoxical conundrum of capturing the flow of history, while the fitting leitmotif of dancing courses through the film with unbridled energy.

Both explicit and subtle in its invocation of great parallel cinema filmmakers like Ritwik Ghatak, Satyajit Ray, and Mrinal Sen, A Night of Knowing Nothing is far from an exercise in nostalgia. Instead, it updates those artists’ oneiric visuals and intellectual acumen to reflect on the current state of Kapadia’s home nation – specifically the obstacles faced by its youth. A film of unexpected urgency that delivers on the exhilarating potential promised by Kapadia’s breakthrough shorts, A Night of Knowing Nothing announces the arrival of an audacious cinematic talent.” — Andréa Picard, Toronto International Film Festival