A Unique Perspective on Celluloid Tributes
Adieu Godard is a socio-cultural comic tribute to the legendary French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard
After the passing away of the legendary filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, Adieu Godard an Oriya feature film, edited and directed by a relatively new director Amartya Bhattacharya, is in the news. Bhattacharya had no clue that his film would gain such media attention when he conceived it a couple of years ago. But even before Godard passed away, the film had gone places and was winning awards. The spotlight on it was brighter following Godard's death.
According to Amartya Bhattacharya he is a big admirer of Jean-Luc Godard and his filmmaking, "a tribute film was always on my mind. After making three surreal feature films which were mostly philosophical and psychoanalytic, I wanted to resort to a simple narrative film for the first time. While thinking about my subject, the idea automatically came to my mind, and I allowed it to bloom. Though the form of this film is in complete contrast to Godard's formalism, I found this contradiction interesting and gripping.
"Even in the execution of the film, I made sure that the film remains as simple, candid and innocent as possible, both in the structure and in form. It's as if I am a witness to the innocent rural Indian culture which unknowingly embraces cultural diversity, but often struggles to integrate them within the conventional framework of their social realities."
Bhattacharyya is not only an independent film director, but also a poet, writer, cinematographer, editor, painter, actor, lyricist, recitation artist and a photographer. He won the national award for Best Cinematography for his fantasy documentary Benaras - the Unexplored Attachments at the 63rd National Film Awards.
He also won the Best Editing for his feature film Khyanikaa - The Lost Idea at the 29th Odisha State Film awards. He has won around 15 international awards as director, writer, editor, and cinematographer and for best film. His Runanubandha was screened at the Kolkata International Film Festival a few years ago.
Adieu Godard is a socio-cultural comic tribute to the legendary French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. The film is based on an old man Ananda, who happens to be a pornography addict. He secretly watches pornography with some friends in a conservative Indian village. One day, they accidentally come across a Godard film mistakenly rented as pornography.
Though his friends were disgusted, Ananda gets attracted to Godard's film and gradually develops an obsession. He initiates the idea of hosting a film festival in their village where Godard's films will be screened. The festival gets organised after a lot of drama, but what happens next is to be seen. There is a sad twist to this otherwise happy tale which does not take away from the director's unique perspective on what a celluloid "tribute" ought to be.
Asked if he was trying to send a message through this film, Bhattacharya says, "not really. I do not try to send messages through my films. In this film, it is as if I am a witness to the innocent rural Indian culture which unknowingly embraces cultural diversity, but often struggles to integrate them within the conventional framework of their social realities."
The film, shot in black-and-white, has been shot on location in a small town/village in Odisha were Bhattacharya has been living for several years. It is embellished with excellent camera work. What takes the cake is the acting by each member of the cast. The characters were mainly 'lonely old men looking out for some dirty fun' through watching films on a videocassette borrowed from a local library.
But when Ananda gets hooked to a Godard film that he rented by mistake, he organises a 'film festival' for the crowd. However, they fail to warm up to it, as they are used to porn films. The festival gets organised after a lot of drama, but what happens next is to be seen.
Ananda is mesmerised by Godard's films, but his old friends want to watch the porn films again. Then, something happens in Ananda's life that turns the tables completely on the narrative and in Ananda's life. This too, is Godardian where nothing happens as expected and there is a haphazard way Life takes shape taking us unawares.
Choudhury Bikash Das plays Ananda around whom the film revolves. Dipanwit Dashmohapatra, Sudhasri Madhusmita, Swastik Choudhury, Choudhury Jayaprakash Das, Shankar Basu Mallick, Abhishek Giri, Swetapadma Satpathy and Dr. Banikanta Mishra play other important characters of the film that was shot in Odisha. The music has been composed by the talented Kisaloy Roy, and the popular icon of Rock music- Rupam Islam has rendered his first Odia song with this film.
Adieu Godard won the Best Film award in the Indian Language's Competition at the prestigious 27th Kolkata International FIlm Festival (KIFF) that concluded on May 1. Bikash Das said, "the Kolkata International Film Festival Award shows how well this film connected with the Global Audience. As Ananda, I have received so much love and I am really happy to be a part of this film. This film thoroughly engages with the audience and they have enjoyed it a lot. I hope the film reaches the people of Odisha soon".
The film was screened at 20th Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) and 13th Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFES) where it won the Third Best Indian Cinema Award. Director Amartya Bhattacharyya received the award from the Governor of Karnataka Dr. Thawar Chand Gehlot. Adieu Godard has been selected for Sri Lanka's Jaffna International Film Festival. It was also a part of International Film Festival of Thrissur held in March.
About the care he takes for the music in all his films, Amartya says, "music has always been kept as a support element to create or exaggerate a certain mood, if needed. I feel it is disrespectful of music as an independent form of art.
"Music should not always be used as a background score. Just like an actor can be foregrounded to create a mood, an object can be foregrounded to create a mood, a colour can be foregrounded to create a mood, music too can be foregrounded to create a mood, and it need not follow the visuals. There are certain notions related to film music. I wish to break that. My film's music can be loud, intense, and can lead the visuals or the narrative instead of following them. I experiment a lot with music in my films, and I am glad my composers support me."
Among the filmmakers whose works inspire him, Amartya said, "I love the works of Buddhadeb Dasgupta, the later works of Rituparno Ghosh. I also like the craziness of Q. Ray's Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne and '-Hirak Rajar Deshe were very special films.
"In world cinema, I love the French master Jean-Luc Godard, the surrealist elements of Luis Bunuel, the poetic aesthetics of Kim Ki-Duk, and Tsai Ming Liang's experimentation with cinematic time and space. Each impacts on me in a very different way.
"I do not have any faith or respect for Bollywood cinema. I feel Bollywood films are dangerous. They destroy all cinematic sensibilities and pamper a pampered class of people. As for other types of Hindi language films, Kamal Swaroop's Om Dar-B-Dar fascinates me."