Indian youth fragment in struggle

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It’s a magical capture of the grainy black and white images collected during the five-year struggle against the Indian People’s Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and its ultra-nationalist leader, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. A soap opera all in poetry and love correspondence, haunted by twilight and a disappointing tomorrow. All night without knowingby director Payal Kapadia, originally from Bombay, owes the manifesto-title to an inscription on the wall, written in the heat of collective action.

A long conflict with an uncertain and dangerous outcome takes the form of an unexpected night, where young people grope their way, experiencing the power of their actions and police repression. Presented at the Directors’ Fortnight, in Cannes, in 2021, and crowned with the prize for best documentary (Golden Eyes), this experimental film, inspired by non-fiction, archive and compile various materials, films, cell phone videos and surveillance camera footage, witness to the militant spirit of a worried young man.

The documentary owes its manifesto-title to an inscription on the wall, written in the heat of collective action.

In 2017, a protest movement began in several Indian schools and universities, following the appointment of people close to the government, who are affiliated with Hindu nationalist rights, as heads of these institutions. This is the case of the prestigious film school of the Indian Institute of Film and Television (FTII, from which the director comes), the French equivalent of Fémis. Recently, several pro-government filmmakers have joined the FTII board of directors. The students feared their school would lose its identity (with the films censored) and launch a major strike that would last more than a hundred days.

Payal Kapadia began shooting the fight with its cinematographer and editor, Ranabir Das. The movement recognizes a stronger level in other higher education establishments, keeps the “one” out of the newspapers and puts the government in shame, before certain media stigmatizes the demonstrators (tax left troublemakers, students who live at the expense of the State through subsidies) .

Intimate Chronicle

The film does not follow the chronology of the conflict, but narrates the various twists and turns through the letters that a young woman, a film student, addresses to her lover, from whom she is separated – the caste system hinders certain unions within different social classes. . The intimate chronicle traverses collective commitments, tales of demonstrations, film students enlisting the vengeance that his classmates (and himself) must face.

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Cheryl Tenny

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