Fifth about The Seventh

A Night of Knowing Nothing

A Night of Knowing Nothing: Payal Kapadia’s documentary uses the letters of a film student to her boyfriend as a stepping-stone to look at how the rise to power of an extreme-right ultra-nationalist (there seems to be a lot of those recently) shook her world (and much beyond). The film manages to be both poetic and disturbing. The latter, naturally, comes from all the sectarian violence perpetrated by the Indian government and its supporters which is both described and shown. The former is a result of the letters themselves, read by Bhumisuta Das, the oniric quality of cinematographer Ranabir Das’s black-and-white, almost abstract at times footage of life in the film school, and the sound design (including the moody musical score). The film is, however, quite ponderous, and it doesn’t go into much depth about the admittedly complex caste system (not that it’s necessary; the fact that systemic discrimination and violence are committed against a group of people is distressing by itself).

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