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Adieu Godard review: Amartya Bhattacharyya blends realism and surrealism in his tribute to Jean-Luc Godard

Adieu Godard is made way before the French filmmaker chose assisted suicide to end his life. It is a film that celebrates Jean-Luc Godard’s cinema

3/5rating
Adieu Godard review: Amartya Bhattacharyya blends realism and surrealism in his tribute to Jean-Luc Godard
A still from the film
  • Shamayita Chakraborty

Last Updated: 03.25 PM, Sep 17, 2022

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Story: In a remote village in Odisha, a group of elderly men watches pornography regularly. That is their recreation. One day, a DVD of Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless gets exchanged with a CD of pornography film by mistake and they end up watching that film. How that one classic film changes the lives of those men, their neighbourhood, and their village is all captured in Adieu Godard. 

Review: Adieu Godard is made and set on its festival tour way before the French filmmaker chose assisted suicide to end his life. It is a mere coincidence that the time of the release of the film in Kolkata is suddenly so relevant. No doubt this film is a fitting tribute to the master filmmaker. 

However, Adieu Godard is not exactly made to pay tribute after the death of the French filmmaker. Rather, Amartya’s film is about celebrating Godard’s cinema. It is an effort to become a magical film. How a Godard film impacts the villagers’ conscience and worldview, and how it creates conflict is narrated in the film. Some of the sequences, especially the one where the protagonist imagines a scarecrow to be Godard and starts a conversation, create a surrealistic scene. Director Amartya Bhattacharyya deserves a round of applause for picking such a topic and making a film that partly follows Godard’s style. Through each scene, he blends reality and surrealistic imagery. 

Not just the flow of the film, but the cinematography of Adieu Godard is worth a mention. The scene of the film festival in the village in the backdrop of the setting sun on the horizon is beautiful. The murmur and scandal among the villagers after the intimate sequence of Shilpa and Jo are also touching. The significant add-on of the disclaimer: Godard is injurious to health leaves a lasting impact.  

However, despite all its effort, impressive shots, and unique plot, the film fails to reach its potential. And one has to blame the script before anything else. Too many subplots are compacted in an approximately one-and-a-half-hour-long film. As a result, some of the characters and plots lose relevance. For example, the story of the doctor leads us nowhere. Certain dialogues that are essentially crafted to pay homage to Godard become preachy at times. The theme of women’s liberation seems to fall flat with little credibility. As a result, the film falls short of becoming a great visual treat. 

Anand and Jatin are brilliant in their portrayal. Throughout the film, Jatin plays a character of a village idiot and he does an outstanding job. Anand is spontaneous. Besides them, all the characters in the film look appropriate and their on-screen performances maintain a standard. 

Verdict: Amartya has chosen a very intriguing topic to capture in a film. The journey from pornography to Godard’s classics is not an easy one. However, he has done a remarkable job in most parts of the film. His courage needs a round of applause also. The overtly used subplots have probably sabotaged the film in certain ways, however, this is a film that will be remembered. 

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