A Night of Knowing Nothing
Directed by Payal Kapadia • 2021 • France, India
Starring Bhumisuta Das
Through fictional love letters found in a cupboard at the Film and Television Institute of India, we meet L, a film student writing to her estranged lover while he is away. Gradually we’re immersed in the drastic changes taking place at the school and in the lives of young people across the country as they take to the streets to protest the widespread religious and caste-based discrimination intensifying under Narendra Modi. In her debut film, Payal Kapadia deftly merges reality with fiction, weaving together archival footage with student protest videos to create a vital tapestry of the personal and the political. With its dreamlike editing rhythms and revelatory use of sound, A NIGHT OF KNOWING NOTHING is both an essential document of contemporary India and a nostalgic look at youth fighting the injustice of their time.