A Night of Knowing Nothing, dir. Payal Kapadia, France / India 2021, 97 min., Hindi & Bengali with English subtitles
Payal Kapadia’s bold and distinctive debut feature is an immersive and spiritual work addressing issues of artist production as well as the political complexities of contemporary India. A Night of Knowing Nothing is framed by fictional letters from a female student to her estranged lover.
The film initially lends itself to investigative fictional storytelling before exploring the political contradictions of contemporary India. Combining a mixture of found footage, sketches and her own material, Kapadia – an alumna of the Film & Television Institute of India – repositions the work of fellow students at other educational establishments, charting the fractious relationship between a nation’s youth, its rigid caste structures, its families and its far-right government. Among many other ideas and leads, A Night of Knowing Nothing also aims to reimagine the role of a film school in this turbulent and often violent political epoch.
This release is an ICA CINEMA Distribution project.