A Night of Knowing Nothing

Payal Kapadia
2021, France/India / 96 minutes/ English

A night of knowing nothingis Payal Kapadia’s first feature documentary; it won the Golden Eye award at Cannes in 2021.

Payal and her peers who studied at the public Film and Television Institute of India started filming the footage of this film in 2016. They meant for it to be a portrait of this group of friends. However, at the same time occured protests all over universities in India, where students organized an uprise against the right-wing ruling party appointing new directors that serves their politics.

In A night of knowing nothing, nostalgic black and white grainy images of student protests and state oppression linger on the screen. In between socialist 
chants, a defeaning silence underscores the reading of unsent love letters by L, a student whose lover leaves her to witness the uprise alone, while failing to stand up to his parents who forbid their love due to them belonging to different social classes.