Through a series of letters read aloud to an absent lover, we learn about the fears, desires, and philosophical identity of a young woman named L, a student at the Film and Television Institute of India. Through these words, and via the documentary images collected by her and her peers of contemporary Indian youths engaged in university life, writer-director Payal Kapadia has constructed a brilliantly fragmentary work of witnessing. A Night of Knowing Nothing—winner of the Golden Eye award for best documentary at this year’s Cannes Film Festival—is a testament to the inseparability of life, film, politics, and dreams, while functioning as an essential portrait of the ongoing struggle for resistance from discrimination.

All NYFF59 documentaries are presented by: