Indian film on student activism wins Cannes award

Indian film on student activism wins Cannes award By Nidhul - July 19, 2021
Indian film on student activism wins Cannes award

Filmmaker Payal Kapadia receives the award. (Source: Twitter)

“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,” Kapadia told The Sunday Express after receiving the award.

Mumbai-based filmmaker and Film and Television Institute (FTII), Pune, alumnus Payal Kapadia on Saturday won the L’Oeil d’Or: Le Prix du documentaire, an award for best documentary, at the Cannes Film Festival for her film A Night of Knowing Nothing, which foregrounds student protests in the country.

“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,” Kapadia told The Sunday Express after receiving the award.

The plot revolves around an FTII student, named L, who falls in love with K but is separated, as K has to return to his village home. “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,” Kapadia had said after a screening of the film at Cannes earlier this week.

The film uses the device of a letter, written by L to K, to highlight the cracks in Indian society at present and the “truth of everyday life of a young person in the country”. The film’s DOP and editor, Ranabir Das, said, “In the beginning, we were just shooting life around us on the campus of FTII but, as the narrative started to evolve and we got more footage from other people, we started to look at more protest shots.”

This is Kapadia’s second outing at Cannes — her 2017 film, Afternoon Clouds, had premiered at the prestigious festival.

By Nidhul - July 19, 2021

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