Courtisane festival, notes on cinema, 23nd edition, 27 - 31 March 2024
A Night of Knowing Nothing
Payal Kapadia’s hybrid feature A Night of Knowing Nothing is a fever dream of impossible love tied to a broader reflection on contemporary India. Structured around letters from an unseen protagonist, L, directed to her estranged lover, K, Kapadia’s film is at once grand and contained, weaving fragments of a romance and moments of domestic life with handheld documentary footage captured around the country over several years.
Both explicit and subtle in its invocation of great parallel cinema filmmakers like Ritwik Ghatak, Satyajit Ray, and Mrinal Sen, A Night of Knowing Nothing is far from an exercise in nostalgia. Instead, it updates those artists’ oneiric visuals and intellectual acumen to reflect on the current state of Kapadia’s home nation — specifically the obstacles faced by its youth. A film of unexpected urgency that delivers on the exhilarating potential promised by Kapadia’s breakthrough shorts, A Night of Knowing Nothing announces the arrival of an audacious cinematic talent. (TIFF, Andréa Picard)
Hindi / Bengali spoken, English subtitles