Payal Kapadia’s Night Of Knowing Nothing (2021), the winner of L’Oeil d’Or (Golden Eye) at Cannes and the Amplify Voices award at the Toronto International Film Festival, is both a record of one of the most tumultuous episodes of student unrest that happened in new India and a poem that transcends time, a poem about love and longing that speaks about a film school and cinema. Kapadia, an alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India, which is India’s oldest and premier film institute, replicates the grainy texture of 16mm celluloid, using nostalgia as a major theme. The intricate soundscape and the conflating of different forms of images lend this mostly monochromatic film a dreamy look. A deeply political and melancholic film about being a young person in an India taken over by fascist forces.

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