Payal Kapadia’s All We Imagine As Light makes Cannes history with Grand Prix award

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All We Imagine As Light

“All We Imagine As Light’ team at Cannes. Payal Kapadia has truly made a mark with her work. Winning ‘le prix du documentaire’ for Best Documentary three years ago for ‘A Night of Knowing Nothing’ and now making her first feature film, ‘All We Imagine As Light,’ is quite a journey.

Kapadia’s film delves into urban loneliness and connection, portraying Kani Kusruti and Divya Prabha as Malayali nurses in Mumbai facing the complexities of city life. The struggle, particularly pronounced in Mumbai, offers women anonymity and security amidst the city’s challenges. It beautifully captures the essence of navigating through the bustling metropolis, highlighting the unique experiences and emotions of the characters as they navigate their lives in the city. The film truly encapsulates the essence of urban life and the intricacies of human connections within a bustling cityscape.

This Cannes has already begun well for India, with a Best Actress win for Anasuya Sengupta for Bulgarian director Konstantin Bojanov’s dark tale of female exploitation Shameless (Un Certain Regard section), in which she plays a sex worker on the run. In the La Cinef category, Chidananda S Naik’s Sunflowers Were The First To Know, and UK-based Mansi Maheshwari’s Bunnyhood got the first and third prizes, respectively. Cinematographer and director Santhosh Sivan also received the prestigious Pierre Angénieux ExcelLens in Cinematography honor at Cannes, the first Asian to win this prestigious award. Kapadia’s coveted trophy, the festival’s second-highest award, is a perfect cherry on top. The Palme d’Or went to American filmmaker Sean Baker for his film Anora.

The film beautifully captures the essence of light and darkness in every frame, delving into the depths of suppressed desires within Prabha and Anu. Anu finds herself in a secret relationship with Shiz, portrayed by Hridhu Haroon, leading to gossip among the nursing staff. On the other hand, Prabha, who is older and married, grapples with her husband’s unexplained absence. The intricate portrayal of these relationships and emotions adds layers of complexity to the narrative, making the film a compelling exploration of human desires and relationships.