Stranger things

Filmmaker Amartya Bhattacharyya always wanted to make an interesting film.
A still from Adieu au Langage
A still from Adieu au Langage

BENGALURU: Filmmaker Amartya Bhattacharyya always wanted to make an interesting film. And who better than his hero, French director Jean-Luc Godard as a muse? But a few days after Godard committed assisted suicide, the movie has not just left the filmmaker shocked but has also left the audience intrigued.

The movie Adieu Godard is an Odia film, which is set in a small Indian village where an elderly man named Ananda is addicted to watching pornography with his friends. One fine day, he accidentally brings home a DVD with a Godard film on it. Though his friends are ‘disgusted’, he gets interested in Godard’s films which gradually turns into an obsession.

Jean-Luc Godard
Jean-Luc Godard

Currently released in Odisha and West Bengal, the team is looking for a theatrical release in Mumbai and Bengaluru. The movie was also screened at the Bengaluru International Film Festival 2022 and has won awards. The irony is that the film released just a week before Godard’s passing.

“I was extremely shocked when I got the news. I was writing a promotional post on the movie when the captions of ‘Adieu Godard’ started popping up. It took some time for me to realise that it is not fake news. It was a very heavy thing because I never wanted to bid adieu to Godard in this way,” recalls Bhattacharyya, revealing that the title drew inspiration from one of Godard’s movies, Adieu au Langage.

So distraught is the filmmaker that he can’t watch the movie with the same perspective. “I watched the movie on September 12 in Kolkata, for the first time after his demise, and had gooseflesh,” says Bhattacharyya, who feels destiny played a large role in his writing of this film. The song at the end of the movie now has a different meaning altogether for him. Bhattacharyya, who wrote the story during 2017-2018, says there is no reason why he chose this particular subject.

Since all his past movies are non-narratives, he tried to break out of that and challenge himself with a film which he wanted to be simple and entertaining. “Growing up in Kolkata at a time when there was no internet, renting pornographic DVDs was part of our youth. It was very common that the cover of those DVDs actually contained different content,” explains the director.

But the reason why the story was set in Odisha was because, according to him, the name Jean-Luc Godard is pretty much alien and would create a sense of curiosity as it did in several festivals, including the Bengaluru one. Godard broke all rules in life and in the way he chose to end things. “No one else looked at cinema the way Godard did,” says an emotional Bhattacharyya.

French director Jean-Luc Godard’s assisted suicide has left many in shock, including filmmaker Amartya Bhattacharyya, whose movie Adieu Godard, released just a week before Godard’s demise; the film was recently screened at the Bengaluru International Film Festival 2022

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The New Indian Express