All We Imagine as Light wins Cannes Grand Prix: Everything we know so far

'All We Imagine as Light' Wins Big at Cannes (Image via Instagram/ @Festival_Cannes)

On May 25, at the 77th Cannes Film Festival, Payal Kapadia, an Indian filmmaker, was awarded the Grand Prix for her Malayalam-Hindi film, All We Imagine as Light. A first for India, this significant achievement spotlights the country's talent in the international cinema arena.

The Grand Prix, being the festival's second-most prestigious award after the Palme d'Or, underscores the film's impact and recognition on this global platform.

Kapadia's victory is noteworthy as she became the first female director from India to compete in the festival's main competition in nearly 30 years, with the last being Shaji N Karun's Swaham in 1994. Her film All We Imagine as Light earned an eight-minute standing ovation, indicating its profound effect on spectators and critics alike.

Kapadia's Award Acceptance highlights: How does All We Imagine as Light's win impact Indian cinema?

Women's friendship is the main core theme of this movie (Image via Petit Chaos)
Women's friendship is the main core theme of this movie (Image via Petit Chaos)

Kapadia's triumph at Cannes is seen as a beacon of inspiration for Indian filmmakers. The industry, often regarded as self-sufficient, seldom explores the path of international film festivals. Kapadia’s success breaks this norm and could encourage more Indian directors to venture beyond the domestic arena, especially those who craft narrative-offbeat films.

"For me, it's an incredible feeling to be a small part of these efforts," Kapadia acknowledged during her acceptance speech.

She stressed upon the importance of international co-productions and the collaborative spirit between France's Petit Chaos and India's Chalk and Cheese Films.

Also read: Cannes Film Festival 2024: Everyone who attended the opening day of the event

During her award acceptance, Kapadia, credited the actresses Chhaya Kadam, Divya Prabha, and Kani Kusruti, for their roles in making All We Imagine as Light a success.

After receiving the award from Viola Davis, she expressed her nervousness and preparedness with a written speech,

"I'm very nervous, so I wrote something down. Thank you to Cannes for this opportunity. Let's not wait another 30 years for an Indian film. This story is about the bond between three unique women. It’s common for society to pit women against each other, which is sad. For me, the essence of friendship is key as it fosters unity, acceptance, and understanding," Kapadia shared.

Who is Payal Kapadia?

Payal Kapadia, aged 38, has already forged a name for herself in the world of international cinema. She is a prominent Indian filmmaker, known for her unique storytelling and cinematic style. Kapadia was born in Mumbai in 1986 and studied film direction at the Film and Television Institute of India after completing her education at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, and Sophia College.

In 2021, her well-received documentary A' Night of Knowing Nothing was first shown at the Cannes Film Festival's Director's Fortnight section and it won the Golden Eye award. According to PTI, her short movie Afternoon Clouds was shown in Cinefondation at Cannes too. This section helps support new and talented movie makers.

What is All We Imagine as Light About?

All We Imagine as Light is a drama set to release in 2024, with a runtime of 1 hour and 50 minutes. Directed and written by Payal Kapadia, this film unfolds in Mumbai and centers on the complex lives of two women, Prabha and Anu.

It is set against the backdrop of urban chaos and mystical forests. Nurse Prabha's routine is shaken by an unexpected gift from her estranged husband, while Anu battles to secure privacy with her boyfriend in the cramped spaces of the city.

Their shared story progresses as they journey to a coastal town, where dreams and a mystical forest play a key role in their narrative. The movie, featuring Kani Kusruti, Divya Prabha, and Chhaya Kadam, delves into the themes of female friendship and empathy, showcased within the framework of personal struggles and the quest for intimacy.

With a backdrop that shifts from the urban sprawl to an enchanting forest, All We Imagine as Light offers a compelling exploration of its characters' lives, presenting a narrative rich in friendship and understanding.

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