Indian cinema had a historic moment at the Cannes Film Festival 2024. Payal Kapadia’s debut fiction feature, All We Imagine As Light, garnered an enthusiastic reception from fans. It has received an eight-minute standing ovation from audiences.

This event marked a significant achievement as it was the first Indian film in the competition in thirty years. It was also the first film by an Indian woman filmmaker to be honored this way.

The film is a unique French-Indo co-production. Paris-based producers Hakim and Julien Graff of Petit Chaos collaborated with Mumbai’s Zico Maitra of Chalk & Cheese Films.

The film was shot over 40 days in Mumbai and Ratnagiri, a western port town. The story, which is in Malayalam and Hindi, centers around two young women, Prabha (Kani Kasruti) and Anu (Divya Prabha).

Prabha, a nurse from Mumbai, has her routine upended by an unexpected gift from her estranged husband. Her roommate, Anu, struggles to find a private space in the crowded city to be intimate with her boyfriend. Their trip to a beach town becomes a crucial escape, where their desires and dreams start to take shape.

Payal Kapadia’s All We Imagine as Light receives 8-minutes standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival 2024

Previously, Kapadia gained international acclaim with A Night of Knowing Nothing in 2021, which won her the Golden Eye at Cannes. This time, she has once again captured the hearts of audiences. Reflecting on her achievement, Kapadia highlighted the rich tapestry of Indian filmmaking. “India is a country that makes a lot of good films. Not just Bollywood, but every state has its own industry with absolutely brilliant filmmakers. I hope that after this, we won’t have to wait another 30 years,” she shared.

The film’s premiere received overwhelming praise from critics and audiences. The standing ovation is a testament to the film’s universal appeal and the profound impact of its storytelling. This success underscores Kapadia’s talent and shines a spotlight on Indian cinema. This would encourage more diverse stories to emerge on the international stage.

All We Imagine As Light symbolizes the power of collaboration across cultures and the global resonance of compelling narratives. This milestone marks a new chapter for Indian cinema, setting a promising precedent for future filmmakers from the country.

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