A Night of Knowing Nothing: Indian film nominated for Best Film at APSA 2021

Payal Kapadia's documentary A Night of Knowing Nothing is on the APSA shortlist this year

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Mumbai-based film-maker Payal Kapadia’s Indo-French co-production A Night of Knowing Nothing, which got the prestigious Oeil d’Or award for Best Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival 2021, is in the running for Best Film at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA).

The film A Night of Knowing Nothing is a series of letters that a young film student writes to her partner. As she talks about events and issues around her, dreams and memories, fantasies and anxieties, it becomes clear that they are a comment of the state of contemporary India, particularly its youth. At the same time, though, could these be love letters to the art of cinema itself…?

Kapadia’s film joins Japanese filmmaker Hamaguchi Ryusuke’s Drive My Car and Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero in the nominations for best film, announced on 13 Oct 2021.

Film maker Payal Kapadia
Payal Kapadia (Source: IANS)

Both Drive My Car and A Hero, which had, like A Night of Knowing Nothing, debuted in Cannes, have been nominated for best film, best direction, best screenplay and best performance by an actor.

The best film category is rounded out by nominations for The Pencil from Russia’s Natalya Nazarova and There is No Evil, an Iranian-Czech-German co-production directed by Mohammad Rasoulof, which had bagged the Golden Bear in Berlin.

Another critically acclaimed Indian film is also nominated, in the Best Documentary Feature Film category. Writing With Fire, directed and produced by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh, is based on the trailblazing journalists behind an all-female news network in India. The film was awarded the Special Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance this year.

Tamil film Pebbles (Koozhangal) has received two nominations – Achievement in Directing for P S Vinothraj, and Achievement in Cinematography for Vignesh Kumulai and Jeya Parthiban. This remarkable film, a stunning debut inspired by events in the director’s life, won the Tiger Award at International Film Festival Rotterdam earlier this year.

The 38 nominated films this year come from 25 Asia Pacific countries and regions. Films from Japan and Iran each collected seven nominations.

After 14 years, a representative from Vietnam (cinematographer Nguyen Vinh Phuc nominated for his work in Le Bao’s Taste, aka Vi) collected the country’s first APSA nomination.

Interestingly, the nominations this year represent a complete shut-out for both mainland China and Taiwan.

The picks this year are also at odds with those for the Golden Horse Film Awards announced last week, in which Hong Kong’s Drifting and Taiwan’s The Falls each picked up nearly a dozen nods.

Given the impact of Covid-19 on the region, the eligibility of films in competition this year at APSA was extended back to the end of 2019. This “(increased) the field and calibre of competition significantly,” organisers said.

The best youth feature film award gives nominations to three emerging women directors with their debut or second features: Korea’s Yoon Dan-bi for Moving On, Afghan director Granaz Moussavi for When Pomegranates Howl and Saudi Arabia’s Shahad Ameen’s Scales.

In other Indian links, we’ll get to hear from Sydney’s very own Ana Tiwary, film-maker and head of Indi-Visual Films, and from. Kalpana Nair of the Mumbai Film Festival Programming, at two different events at the Asia Pacific Screen Forum 11-16 Nov.

The 14th APSA Awards will be presented at the Gold Coast on 11 Nov.

READ ALSO: Manoj Bajpai wins Best Actor at APSA 2021 

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