Payal’s “All We Imagine As Light” is 1st Indian Film to Compete at Cannes in 30 Years

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Updated On: 12 Apr 2024

Payal’s “All We Imagine As Light” is 1st Indian Film to Compete at Cannes in 30 Years

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.

The long wait has come to an end after three decades. An Indian film has made its way to the top competition slot of the upcoming Cannes Film Festival. Indian film writer and director Payal Kapadia’s “All We Imagine As Light” has secured its spot at the Cannes Film Festival as per the official announcement made at a press conference on Thursday in Paris by Iris Knobloch, president of the festival, and Thierry Fremaux, general delegate.

Payal Kapadia is one of the only four female directors in the Cannes Film Festival competition. Kapadia, an alumna of the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII). In the previous year, the number was 7, which is almost double of this year’s. Payal is not new to the festival held in French Riveria, which was remarked as the “playground for the rich and the famous.” In the year 2021, ‘A Night of Not Knowing Nothing’ by the same director earned her the ‘Golden Eye Award for the Best Documentary playing in the Director’s Fortnight, an important Cannes sidebar. The movie unfolds the events taking place on campus through letters written by a student to her lover. Back in 2017, Afternoon Clouds by Payal Kapadia was part of the Cinefondation section, which also takes place during the Festival along with the Critics’ Week and Director’s Fortnight.

The 30-year-old director, Kapadia, will be setting her sights on the coveted Palme d’Or along with some of the most celebrated names in the world of cinema such as 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), Paulo Sorrentino (Parthenope), and many others will be attending the Cannes Film Festival. 

The movie, “All We Imagine As Light” produced by an Indo-French production house, talks about Prabha, a nurse who receives an unexpected gift from her long-estranged husband which leaves her quite uncomfortable. On the other hand, her younger friend and roommate, Anu is desperately looking for a quiet place to be with her lover. Eventually, the two take a trip to the beach town where the two women find a space for their dreams and desires to flow. 

In 1994, the festival committee picked Shaji N. Karun’s ‘Swaham’ for the honorary Palme d’Or award. Before that, in the year 1983, Mrinal Sen’s Bengali language Kharji was also a part of the Cannes Competition and won the jury prize. 

Who else got the honours?

Apart from Payal, India hit another shot as British-Indian filmmaker Sandhya Suri’s debut movie, Santosh, has been selected for Un Certain Regard, which is considered to be a significant segment after the competition. The movie unfolds on the plains of northern India with a cast led by Shahana Goswami. The film is mostly character-driven and neo-noir. 

In all 77 years that Cannes has been delivering the film festival only a countable number of Indian movies were able to clinch a spot in the festival. Those movies include Chetan Anand’s Neecha Nagar (which was released in 1946), V Shantaram’s Amar Bhopali (which was released in 1952), Raj Kapoor’s Awaara (which was released in 1953), Satyajit Ray’s Parish Pathar (which was released in 1958), MS Sathyu’s Garm Hava (which was released in 1974), and Mrinal Sen’s Kharj (which was released in 1983) which did not cease to erode by time. 

Among the listed, Neecha nagar was the only one to have claimed the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the festival.

Soundarya Kamat

Soundarya Kamat is an inquisitive individual with a deep passion for the formation of names and an expertise in freestyle writing. Her relentless curiosity drives her to research and explore the intricacies behind the origins and meanings of names, unraveling the stories they hold. Holding a certifi... Read More

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