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Adieu Goddard : Review

Adieu Goddard won the Feature Film of the Year Award at the Cardiff International Film Festival and is Amartya Bhattacharya's most recent directional wonder.

The film begins with Ananda an East-Indian man from a small village in the state of Odisha renting DVDs from a shop he’s already got existing dues with. What DVDs one may ask? Porn.

Ananda, played masterfully by Choudhary Bikash Das is as simple as an Indian village man maybe - he has a wife, a daughter and three friends. All is well except that he is addicted to watching porn and so are his friends. This is where the film begins.

On one such visit to the DVD shop, the shopkeeper gives Ananda (Choudhary Bikash Das) a film by Goddard instead. “The police have become strict”, says the shopkeeper, “their salaries have increased so they don't take bribes anymore”. Ananda, reluctant as he is, brings back the DVD with him.

His friends are just as excited as he is, gathered around the television box, with big, bulging eyes, waiting to watch the ‘good scenes’ that they are accustomed to watching. Ten minutes in and nothing, twenty, forty and there’s no action. Not the kind that they are looking for at least.

The Goddard film is a failure among his village friends and why shouldn’t it be? It's Goddard, for god’s sake. French with English subtitles played in front of people that primarily speak Odia. One of his friends rightfully says - there is no music, no action, no romance, no dance, and no popular hero. What type of film is this?

But something about the film strikes Ananda, he doesn’t know what is happening or how but he knows that something is. And that was enough flame for a Goddard-loving fire to start. Goddard’s films enthral Ananda to the point where he sets out to organise a Goddard Film Festival in his village.

But a film festival? That too a Goddard? In a village? In India? His friends think little of it. But Ananda makes a strong case. “Goddard’s films will make people think,” and what will thinkers do, his friend asks. Ananda replies, “think.”

That is the premise of the film. How the film festival comes together if it comes together at all, its reception, the moments that lead up to it, people’s understanding of Goddard, Ananda’s love for him, love as a feeling and grief that inherently comes with it - these are few of the (many) things to look out for in the film. It is a film that demands the attention of its audience with little to no technical and editing glitz and glamour. Pure story-telling. All of it.

From the crisp Satyajit Ray influences, perfect background scores by Sujoy Das and under the adept directional eye of Amartya Bhattacharya, Adieu Goddard is a film for every film enthusiast but especially for those that think resources limit them. In fact, I would recommend all of Bhattacharya’s feature films for that matter, there are very few. Just like diamonds. And each of them will leave you feeling a certain kind of way, thinking, pondering, trying to make some sense or simply understand.