Payal Kapadia’s documentary film, A NIGHT OF KNOWING NOTHING, is a brilliant, dreamlike, poetic exploration of the political and social changes occurring in India.
Through a series of letters read aloud to an absent lover, we learn about the fears, desires, and philosophical identity of a young woman named L, a student at the Film and Television Institute of India. Through these reflective words, along with a variety of documentary images and an evocative music score, writer-director Payal Kapadia has constructed an astonishing fragmentary work that witnesses India’s resurgent extreme nationalism.
A NIGHT OF KNOWING NOTHING is a poetic testament to the inseparability of life, film, politics, and dreams, while functioning as an essential portrait of the ongoing struggle of resistance.
The film quotes Milan Kundera’s observation, “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” Kapadia added, “We wanted the film to have a feeling of timelessness. Almost like the viewer is in the future, and looking back at this time. Maybe it is easier to gain perspective when one looks back at the past.
Winner – Cannes Film Festival, Golden Eye, Best Documentary Award
Winner – Toronto International Film Festival Amplify Voices Award
Winner – Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, Best Documentary Award