Payal Kapadia has put India on the global radar with her documentary titled A Night of Knowing Nothing. Her documentary won the Oeil d’Or (Golden Eye) award for best documentary at the 74th Cannes Film Festival on Saturday (July 17).
Hailing from Mumbai, the filmmaker’s first feature bagged the prestigious prize after competing with 28 documentaries presented across various sections of the festival. A Night of Knowing Nothing premiered as part of the Directors’ Fortnight, a section that runs concurrently to the festival.
The Oeil d’or jury was included names like American documentary producer Ezra Edelman, French filmmaker Julie Bertuccelli, French actor Deborah Francois, Franco-American film critic Iris Brey and Orwa Nyrabia, artistic director of the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) Amsterdam.
“The Oeil d’Or, the award for best documentary presented at the Cannes Film Festival all sections combined, goes to ‘A Night of Knowing Nothing’ by Payal Kapadia, a film selected at the Directors’ Fortnight. Our warmest congratulations to Payal Kapadia and the entire film crew!” read an announcement tweet made by the official Twitter handle of Director’s Fortnight.
Apart from Kapadia’s film, other films that were nominated for the award were – Todd Haynes’ The Velvet Underground, Andrea Arnold’s Cow, Oliver Stone’s JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, Marco Bellocchio’s Marx Can Wait, Sergei Loznitsa’s Babi Yar. Context, Mark Cousins’s The Story of Film: A New Generation and Rahul Jain’s Invisible Demons, among others
Kapadia’s film chronicles the story of a university student in India, who writes letters to her estranged lover, while he is away. According to the film’s formal logline posted on the official website of Director’s Fortnight, the film is described as, “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.”
Talking more about Payal Kapadia, she is an alumna of the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII). She also has films such as the documentary And What is the Summer Saying and Last Mango Before the Monsoon to her credit.