Cannes Film Festival 2021: retracing Kolkata, winner of the Golden Eye, connects | Calcutta News



KOLKATA: “A Night of Knowing Nothing” by Payal Kapadia, which won the Golden Eye for Best Documentary at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, has a strong connection to Kolkata. Ranabir Das, former student of Don Bosco Park Circus and director of photography and documentary editor, walked the Cannes red carpet alongside the director.
Scottish Church College and St Xavier’s Collegiate School alumnus Moinak Bose is the sound designer for the film while Gobardanga stage actor Bhumisuta Das did his voiceover.

Kapadia, Ranabir and Bose are alumni of the Film and Television Institute of India while Bhumisuta graduated from the National School of Drama in 2019.

Bhumisuta Das
Among the Bengal filmmakers who inspired Das are Subrata Mitra and Soumendu Roy. In addition, it also draws inspiration from the photography of all the films of Ritwik Ghatak, Ranjan Palit and Avik Mukhopadhyay.
“I have watched Avik da’s work, and there is so much to learn, even beyond creating beautiful images. This includes the way he collaborates with directors and conducts himself on set, doing his job calmly and efficiently, ”he said.
Described by the director as a “found footage film”, the documentary was screened as part of the Directors’ Fortnight, which runs alongside the main festival. In the documentary, L, a university student in India, writes letters to her ex-lover while he is away.
Through these letters, we get a glimpse of the drastic changes taking place around her. Merging reality with fiction, dreams, memories, fantasies and anxieties, an amorphous narrative unfolds.
“Although I shot a lot of the film, we also received a lot of footage from friends and other archives. So in a way, it became a film of found images. We even treated the footage that Payal and I shot as found footage. We filmed our friends and our daily lives. So it was maybe easier for us to be more intimate than in other situations. spent most of the pandemic editing the movie in our apartment. Since we had a lot of footage, it took a while, a long time, “Das said.
With the material they had, it became very important for them to choose the form they wanted to give to the documentary.
“We had in mind what we wanted to express, what many of us who had the privilege of going to public university felt. length of the film, which would give a personal touch to the very complicated situations we found ourselves in, ”he added.
Describing her Cannes experience, Ranabir said: “More than the red carpet, just being at the festival was a great experience, especially after months of restricted movement. It’s great to be able to watch the films of the masters I have idolized and so many exciting new filmmakers. What’s more special is presenting your film to such a grateful and cinema-hungry audience.
Ranabir’s parents still live in Kolkata. Director Anik Dutta took to Facebook to share how Ranabir was his ‘favorite model’ after buying his first SLR and was the youngest member of the ‘Bhooter Bhobishyot’ crew.
“Ray couldn’t go personally to receive the Palme d’Or in 1956, but he would have been happy to see a boy from his hometown walk the Cannes red carpet,” Dutta wrote on Facebook. Touched by this comment, Ranabir said he learned a lot while working on ‘Bhooter Bhobishyot’.
“It was the first feature film I worked on. I learned most of the basics of cinema, both in terms of form and practice, from Dutta and cinematographer Avik Mukhopadhyay, ”he said from Marseille where the documentary is screened at FID.
Growing up in Kolkata, of course, inspired / influenced him. According to Das, Kolkata is the most “culturally advanced” city in the country.
“We are encouraged to participate in the arts from an early age. So it will always be with me. We have a history of protesting and fighting for what is right. Having said that, even in a relatively more progressive city like Kolkata, I think we have a long way to go. Privileged people tend to romanticize the city to such an extent that they don’t see the problems. The determination to fight must not disappear until we can achieve a more equal society for all segments of the population in our city, ”Das added.
Incidentally, L’s character is Bengali, but she lives in Pune. Bhumisuta, who did the voiceover for L, was unable to make it to Cannes.
She is extremely happy with the news of the award. Mainly associated with Gobardanga Naksha, she has performed in productions like “Binodini” and “Shubha” and has also worked in “Daughters Opera” by Anuradha Kapur and the short film by Devashis Makhija.
“It’s not like an ordinary documentary. I went to Mumbai for 10 working days. My voiceover was partly in Hindi and partly in Bengali. Instead of a professional voiceover artist, they wanted someone who could relate to their experience. It was a great experience for me to work on this documentary. I’m happy he won this award at Cannes, ”she said.
Speaking about the number of contemporary Indian films officially selected at major international film festivals, Das said, “A lot of Indian films have been selected at major festivals in recent years. cinema in a country which is not part of the “industry”. Industrial cinema depends on formulas and this does not always interest an international audience. If a market can be created for non-formula films, both in terms of production and distribution funds, then we will see more films of this type being made and more represented at international film festivals ”, he said. underline.
While it would be fantastic to have more representation at major film festivals, Das stresses the importance of being able to “create a market for good films with local content for the local population”.
It would mean films made by and for the people.
“At the moment, the cinema is controlled by money and profits in the hands of a few people,” he said.
Asked about Cannes’ biggest takeaway, he said: “While it’s nice to be at film festivals in Cannes, we have to realize that the most important thing for filmmakers is the opportunities to do films, regardless of the festival chosen. meet them, ”he said, adding that he had noticed that countries that have a lot of public funding in films and art are able to produce the films of directors who work fearlessly without the commercial success of movie in mind.
“The producers also support this. I hope that in India too, we will be able to obtain funding to support cinema made by creators who may not have the access or the means to do so. So our cinema will really prosper, ”he concluded.


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