Right from its opening frame, there’s a lyrical, dreamlike quality to Payal Kapadia’s debut feature.
Stream A Night of Knowing Nothing
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
Through its slippery cinematic language and elusive point-of-view, Kapadia depicts a moment happening urgently in the film’s present-day strand––a wave of anti-government student protests and their resulting crackdown––and treats it like memory, which we know operates as anything but a direct mental recording device.
Because of Kapadia’s collage-like approach, A Night Of Knowing Nothing occasionally feels loose and shapeless. But there is a discernible trajectory here.
This combination of lively image and mournful narration imbues the camera’s fly-on-the-wall perspective with a sense of melancholy. As life unfolds with verve and passion, the spectral narrator, L, exists at a remove, as if she were both present amidst the frolic, and distant from it, her heartbreak leaving her unable to get involved.