A Night of Knowing Nothing
Director: Payal Kapadia Run Time: 90 min. Format: Digital Projection Release Year: 2021 Language: Hindi
Please Note: All in-person screenings at the Brattle require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test as of 10/1/2021.
Starting with a beautifully accomplished trilogy of short films, Mumbai-based filmmaker Payal Kapadia has developed a bold hybrid cinema that seamlessly combines fiction and nonfiction techniques. In A Night of Knowing Nothing, her first feature, Kapadia’s vision continues in fearless, rigorous, and utterly astonishing form—and was justly rewarded with the documentary Golden Eye prize at Cannes 2021. The film’s story comprises a series of love letters found in a cupboard at a film school, from a student who is separated from her lover and thus writing and saving them for his return. As the letters are read aloud by an actor, the visual material that bolsters the narrative is comprised of beautiful 16mm footage that Kapadia and collaborator Ranabir Das (the film’s cinematographer and editor) recorded of their friends, and their friends’ own videos, starting in 2017. All of the crisp diegetic recordings, voiceover narration, and images merge and flow into each other effortlessly, setting up the context for even those unfamiliar with India’s present and presenting an oneiric telling of personal and societal responsibility. In this way, the story of one student relationship becomes a larger story about the life of university students more broadly, told with great urgency, especially once the film advances to its titular night. (AS)
This film will only screen in-person with the filmmaker present via Skype. DocYard Passholders will receive separate information on how to watch the film virtually.
World Premiere and L’Œil d’or, le prix du documentaire winner at 2021 Cannes. Closing Night at 2021 FIDMarseille. Official Selection of 2021 TIFF Wavelengths and 2021 NYFF Currents.