Payal Kapadia’s feature debut, A Night of Knowing Nothing (2021), is at once a political chronicle of contemporary India, an ode to the intimate struggles of love, and a love letter to cinema. Winner of the Best Documentary award at Cannes, the film radically blurs the lines between fiction and documentary by using an epistolary narrative structure interspersed with multiple genres of staged and documentary footage, animation, news reportage, and home movies. In its promiscuous crossing of genre-boundaries and its critical citational ethics, A Night of Knowing Nothing does more than simply mobilize archive effects: it collates its own archive of loss and longing, resistance and repair.

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