A selection at Cannes, TIFF, NYFF, Busan, IDFA, DOC NYC, and many more, Payal Kapadia’s directorial debut A Night of Knowing Nothing is one of my early favorites of this year. A poignant mix of fiction and documentary, with a remarkable, dreamlike sense of time, the film imagines love letters uncovered at the Film and Television Institute of India, but soon evolves into a look at protest and the value of education without ever abandoning its hypnotic formal approach.

Shot on and off over the course of two years, the film went on to win the best documentary at Cannes and now Cinema Guild will release it in theaters beginning February 11 at the Musem of Modern Art, followed by a national rollout. Ahead of the release, we’re pleased to debut the exclusive trailer.

“The more I thought about it, the more I began to think that perhaps all films are political, or have a political position,” the director told MUBI Notebook. “Even the lack of a position is then political. There were so many things that were happening around us that were a part of our lives: our daily discussions with friends, articles shared and posted on social media, what we spoke to our families, what we were arguing about. Cinema became one way to comprehend some of these things. I didn’t want to make a film that gave information about a political situation but [instead wanted to] evoke a more intimate, personal and so a more human perspective to a very complicated situation. I wanted to evoke in the viewer things that myself and many of my colleagues were feeling. Filmmakers like Pasolini have really helped me understand this approach.”

See the exclusive trailer and poster below.

A Night of Knowing Nothing opens on February 11 at the Museum of Modern Art and will expand.

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