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Adieu Godard [2022] Review: An Idiosyncratic Homage

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Jean-Luc Godard. The charmingly enigmatic filmmaker, one of the key proponents of Nouvelle Vague, has been one of the most intriguing figures in world cinema. Many films have tried to capture the essence of Godard, whether it is a homage or a derivative. A herculean task, to say the least, as the master himself has redefined his own essence throughout his exceptionally long career.

Amartya Bhattacharyya’s “Adieu Godard” is an attempt at an idiosyncratic homage to early Godard. The shot is occasionally brilliant in its inception and execution. Sometimes because it is marred with periodic hiccups in the form of a botched meta-commentary.The story is of one old man, Ananda (Choudhury Bikash Das), living in a small village in India. Ananda has a reputation of being the village pervert for his obsession with porn. He buys the DVDs from a local seller and organizes frequent viewing parties with his friends, ignoring the visible disdain on his wife’s and teenage daughter, Shilpa’s face. Things go awry for Ananda when his supplier, in a comical mistake, gives him a DVD of Godard’s “Breathless,” branding it as a ‘French pornographic film.’




This opens up pandora’s box. Not only for the story and for Ananda but also for the spectrum of the scope of this film and for director Amartya Bhattacharyya. It sets the space for a commentary on cinema and its scope. Godard vs. Porn sets up the debate of cinema as an artistic medium vs. cinema as a distraction from daily menial drudgery. It also ponders the origin of appreciation of art and how it is not something that is always constrained by the boundaries of socio-economic class division. Bhattacharyya subtly dabbles in these thoughts.

Adieu Godard 2022

Apart from the undercurrent of origin of artistic sensibilities, the premise sets the story up for a fascinating dark comedy in its more direct effect. To both the viewers’ and his own surprise, Ananda finds something to like in the Godard film. His friends immediately deride the lack of nudity and sex, as they were expecting, and leave their personal ‘theatre’. But Ananda remains there and completes watching ‘Breathless’. Not knowing English, he could not understand the film from the subtitles.

Notwithstanding, Godard sparked something in the illiterate old man’s audio-visual preferences. His friends’ derision and warnings could not deter Ananda. So much so that he decides to hold a film festival of Godard’s films in the village.

Checkout – The 15 Best Films of Jean-Luc Godard

Bhattacharyya wrote, shot, and edited the film himself. He incorporated the second layer of storytelling in this film. For this, he chooses Shilpa (Sudhashri Madhusmita), the daughter of Ananda. In a subplot, the rebellious and progressive Shilpa faces expulsion from the village for kissing and spending time with her then-boyfriend. In a provocative yet laced with humor scene, Bhattacharyya displayed the offhandedly generic but rabid sexism in a typical Indian society, where the village decision-makers find only Shilpa guilty of obscenity but not her boyfriend.




Bhattacharyya had Shilpa retelling all these events, from her father’s obsession with porn and then Godard to her own departure from her family and her village, in a not-so-distant future timeline. This expulsion propels Shilpa to open up another timeline in the story. In a relatively modern city surrounding, Shilpa is telling this story to her current filmmaker boyfriend, who would be considering this story for his new film. However, later, she admits to fabrication or embellishment of certain events in her account to test her boyfriend’s supposed progressive outlook. This throws the layer of an unreliable narrator in the midst. Something that could be done away with, in my opinion, as it hardly becomes a novel addition.




It is not just the unreliable narrator aspect; the entire future timeline is this, otherwise well-made, film’s bane. Here, we see the two least impressive performances, along with some questionable dialogue writing, especially in comparison with the main timeline of Ananda’s story. Sudhashri Madhusmita and Abhishek Giri (who portrayed the filmmaker’s boyfriend, Pablo) seemed rigid, the dialogue delivery inorganic. However, the village cast, led by the magnificent Choudhury Bikash Das as Ananda, soars. They seemed carved out of any Indian village you would visit.




The ending of ‘Adieu Godard’ is a bit haphazard. It is too abrupt for the film’s natural flow but not too alien or unpredictable to be anti-climactic. However, the film’s unique premise and the way Bhattacharyya explores it with his camera (he is the cinematographer as well), at least, for the most part, are enough to supersede any flaw mentioned above. Thus it is recommended to be seen.

Adieu Godard Official Trailer

Adieu Godard Links: IMDb
Director:
Cast: Choudhury Bikash, Sudhasri Madhusmita, Dipanwit Dashmohapatra, Abhishek Giri

 

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