Docs in Orbit
Docs in Orbit
Sep 22, 2021
A Night of Knowing Nothing with Payal Kapadia
Play • 36 min

Featuring a conversation with Payal Kapadia about her remarkably brave and powerful film A NIGHT OF KNOWING NOTHING which took home awards at Cannes, TIFF, and CIFF. Here, she discusses with us her artistic approach, sources of inspiration, and the freedom she finds in documentary filmmaking.

Kapadia is a filmmaker and artist based in Mumbai, and she studied at the Film and Television Institute of India.  A NIGHT OF KNOWING NOTHING is her debut feature film.

The film is structured around a series of love letters, written by a university student in India to her estranged lover and separated because of caste differences. Read in voiceover from an unseen protagonist, the letters provide an intimate glimpse into a young woman's life and the drastic changes taking place around her, while shining light on a contemporary convoluted India. 

Composed mostly of grainy black in white analog film, and mixed with newspaper clippings, family archives, and viral videos found off the internet,  A NIGHT OF KNOWING NOTHING takes on an amorphous form, merging reality with fiction, dreams with memories, fantasies with anxieties. It unfolds like a long, unpredictable night, where we are all in the dark of what to expect next. 

It’s a remarkably powerful and brave film that I still find myself circling back to days after watching. And it is with great admiration that we reached out to Payal Kapadia to invite her to speak about her artistic practice, sources of inspiration, and the freedom she finds in non-fiction cinema. 

Facilitating the conversation is Aylin Gökmen. Aylin is a Turkish-Swiss filmmaker. Her short film SPIRITS AND ROCKS: AN AZOREAN MYTH premiered at Locarno, and has screened at a number of festivals including Sundance, and Telluride. Aylin also takes on a formally inventive approach, blending carefully composed black and white documentary images with archive and an evocative soundscape.

For a list of sources and references from this episode, visit

More episodes
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu