Payal Kapadia' s All We Imagine As Light will be first Indian film to compete at Cannes Film Festival in 30 years | Bollywood - Hindustan Times
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Payal Kapadia' s All We Imagine As Light will be first Indian film to compete at Cannes Film Festival in 30 years

Apr 12, 2024 08:54 AM IST

Payal Kapadia's All We Imagine As Light is the story of two women on a holiday where they find a vent for their desires.

After a very, very long wait of three decades, an Indian movie would play at the top competition slot of the up coming Cannes Film Festival: Writer-director Payal Kapadia's All We Imagine As Light. This was announced at a press conference on Thursday in Paris by Iris Knobloch, president of the festival, and Thierry Fremaux, general-delegate. (Also read: George Lucas to receive honorary Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival)

Payal Kapadia has directed All We Imagine as Light.
Payal Kapadia has directed All We Imagine as Light.

A rare achievement for Payal Kapadia

Interestingly, Kapadia is one of the four female directors in competition. The number was seven last year.

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Kapadia is not new to the festival on the French Riviera, once seductively described as the “playground for the rich and the famous”. In 2021, her A Night of Not Knowing Nothing won the Golden Eye Award for Best Documentary playing in the Director’s Fortnight, an important Cannes sidebar. About campus trouble, the plot unfolds through letters written by a student to her lover. Earlier in 2017, Kapadia's Afternoon Clouds was part of the Cinefondation section, which also takes place during the Festival along with the Critics' Week and Director’s Fortnight.

Kapadia (30) will be aiming for the coveted Palme d'Or along with some of the most celebrated names in world cinema: Francis Ford Coppola (Megalopolis), Sean Baker (Anora), Yórgos Lánthimos (Kinds Of Kindness), David Cronenberg (The Shrouds), Andrea Arnold (Bird), Paul Schrader (Oh Canada) Jacques Audiard (Emilia Perez) and Paulo Sorrentino (Parthenope) to mention some.

An Indo-French production, All We Imagine As Light, talks about Prabha, a nurse, who receives an unexpected gift from her long estranged husband that makes her uneasy. In the meantime, her younger friend and roommate, Anu, is desperately trying to find a quiet spot to be with her lover. Eventuality, the two women take a road trip to a beach town where they find space for their dreams and desires to flow.

The festival had picked Shaji N. Karun's Swaham in 1994 to vie for the top Palme d'Or. About 11 years before that in 1983, Mrinal Sen's Bengali language Kharij was part of Cannes Competition and clinched the jury prize.

Who else got the honours?

In a double bonanza for India, British-Indian filmmaker Sandhya Suri’s debut feature, Santosh, has been selected for Un Certain Regard, which is the most important segment after competition. The movie is said to be character-driven neo-noir set on the plains of northern India with a cast led by Shahana Goswami.

In the 77 years that Cannes has been showcasing cinema from round the globe, only a handful of Indian movies have been able to get into Competition. Chetan Anand’s Neecha Nagar (1946), V Shantaram’s Amar Bhoopali (1952), Raj Kapoor's Awaara (1953), Satyajit Ray’s Parash Pathar (1958), MS Sathyu’s Garm Hava (1974) and Mrinal Sen’s Kharij (1983) are the titles that have not been eroded by time.

Neecha Nagar is the only title from India to have clinched the Palme d'Or.

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