Here’s the Indian Film on Student Activism that Wins the Cannes Award.
Mumbai-based filmmaker Payal Kapadia won the Golden Eye Award at the Cannes Film Festival for her documentary A Night of Knowing Nothing.
They say cinema is a reflection of its own society. One such film that talks about the cracks of Indian society, A Night of Knowing Nothing, won the L’Oeil d’Or: Le Prix du documentaire, aka the Golden Eye Award for best documentary at the Cannes Film Festival. The festival is a celebration of all genres of cinema, including documentaries, and is held in Cannes, France, every year. The 74th edition of the festival this year recognized the Indian film directed by Payal Kapadia, a Mumbai-based filmmaker, and Film and Television Institute (FTII), Pune alumnus on Saturday, 17th July.
“I’m really honoured to receive this prize as there have been wonderful filmmakers who have got it in the past. Our film is quite experimental, so we were a bit surprised too,” said Kapadia as quoted by The Indian Express. “Initially, we were shooting our friends and talking a lot about matters of love, and the impossibility of certain relationships because of caste or religious differences. We realised that talking about young people in India cannot be done without discussing discrimination. So, writer Himanshu (Prajapati) and we culled out a fictional narrative from all the stories we had documented,” she added.
The film is a blend of fiction and documentary with characters named L and K. L, a university student falls in love with K, but when he has to return home, she writes letters to her estranged lover. The official logline of the film at the Director Fortnight website says, “Through these letters, we get a glimpse into the drastic changes taking place around her. Merging reality with fiction, dreams, memories, fantasies, and anxieties, an amorphous narrative unfolds”.
A Night of Knowing Nothing was up against 27 other documentaries at Cannes 2021. It was screened at the Directors’ Fortnight section that takes place alongside the Cannes festival. Delhi-based documentary director Rahul Jain’s film “Invisible Demons” was also a contender for the same award. This was Kapadia’s second stint at the event after she took her short film Afternoon Clouds in 2017. She has also directed films like What is the Summer Saying (2018) and Last Mango Before the Monsoon (2015).
In 2016, an Indian film called “The Cinema Travellers” earned an Oeil d’Or Special Mention. It was directed by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya.
Films have the power to change how the world thinks. Through movies like A Night of Knowing Nothing, Kapadia attempts to bring forth the realities of the society rather than the rainbows and sunshine that are usually depicted. They force the audience to think about certain issues and work towards solving them. Her next project, All We Imagine As Light, is currently under development, and her win has put it under the spotlight too.
It was a proud moment for Indian cinema when she won the award. We congratulate Ms. Kapadia on her achievement, and we hope she continues directing such thoughtful films in the future.
Cinema helps come face-to-face with the current issues, which include the ones women face every day. Inspiring women empowerment movies can play a vital role in this. Read this blog to know about 10 women-centric films you must watch. You can also check out our other blogs on the website.
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Author: Anusha Rana
Image credits: Google