Why is it so hard for human beings to respect human rights?

Is our brain naturally geared to do good to our fellow human beings? How can we encourage human beings to better respect this common framework? For many, human rights are the right tool to enable us to live in harmony, but for others, it is a narrative to ease our conscience. How can we manage this ambivalence, the dark side in every individual? Are we increasingly respectful of human rights, or is it the other way around? Are human rights simply a lost cause?

For the 20th edition of the Festival, a psychoanalyst, a human rights activist, a neuroscientist, and a primatologist examine this daunting question. Alternating between love and violence, hope and disappointment, the documentary film A Night of Knowing Nothing, rooted in the social reality of India, raises the question of the human being's ability to engage and live in harmony with others.

JusticeLiberties & Democracy

Sunday 13 March


Espace Pitoëff - Grande salle

Followed by the debate Why is it so hard for human beings to respect human rights?

French - English


Nayef Al-Rodhan Neuroscientist, philosopher and geostrategist

Irene Bruna Seu Professor of Critical Psychology, University of London

Kate Gilmore Former Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations, Vice-President of Interpeace and Professor at the London School of Economics and the Faculty of Law, University of Essex

Richard Wrangham Anthropologist and Primatologist

Moderated by

Davide Rodogno Professor of International History and Politics and Head of Interdisciplinary Programmes at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

This debat is preceded by the movie:

Compétition - Documentaire de création

A Night of Knowing Nothing

By Payal Kapadia

An award-winner in Cannes and Toronto, this debut film is a revelation and a cinematic gem. From her revolt in the face of rising extremism in India, young filmmaker Payal Kapadia weaves her web, a diary of poems, testimonies and stories against a backdrop of love letters. Edited on black and white images, this virtuosic collage, a tribute to the new wave and to justice, will undoubtedly prove a landmark ode to Indian youth and its freedom.

  • Section Competition - Creative Documentaries
  • Subtitle(s) English & French

Art & EngagementYouthLibertés & Démocratie

Payal Kapadia


  • Thomas Hakim
  • Julien Graff
  • Ranabir Das

World sales

  • Wouter Jansen


  • Wouter Jansen


  • Petit Chaos


  • Ranabir Das


  • Moinak Bose, Romain Ozanne


  • Ranabir Das
Production country
France & India
Swiss Premiere