'La Patrie — Homeland' Review: A sensory cinematic experience

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Anindya Chatterjee’s La Patrie — Homeland, which is currently streaming on Netflix, strongly espouses the idea of global citizenship. Even though we live in a world that’s strictly defined by political boundaries, the virtual distance between people is constantly decreasing. Today, we have more and more cosmopolitan cities and multilingual people. La Patrie — Homeland, co-written by Somrita Bhattacharyya and Chatterjee himself, examines the human yearning for discovering one’s true roots. The multilingual film has received accolades such as winning the Honorary Jury Award in Indian World Film Festival, Hyderabad in 2020 and Special Festival Mention Award in Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival in 2019. The film, produced by M K Media, stars Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Ani Hovhannisyan, and Jonathan Dumontier in pivotal roles.
La Patrie — Homeland is essentially a tale of two individuals from totally different backgrounds in search of their roots. On one hand we have Ani, a girl from Armenia, who comes to France in search of her roots. Her parents were from France, but they moved to Armenia years ago. She has grown up listening to their stories about how they met each other and fall in love. So, she has a strong desire to revisit all those places in France that her parents had told her about.

On her arrival in France, she crosses paths with Jonathan, an English boy living in France. She then meets Varzu, a Spain-born girl living in France, whose mother is Dutch and dad is German. She finally meets a wanderer named Ganga (essayed by Parambrata Chattopadhyay), an Indian who he has travelled extensively. From India he traveled to Bangadesh, then Australia, New Zealand, and finally ended up in France. Named after the Holy Ganges, he doesn’t believe in geographical boundaries. “A river never remains still. It never lies. It always flows. That’s what I do. I flow,” he tells Ani. Ganga’s worldview has a profound influence on Ani which forces her to question her idea of homeland and roots.
Anindya Chatterjee, who made his first feature Jhumura, a movie tracing the journey of Jhumur performers of Bengal in 2015, got the idea for La Patrie — Homeland during a trip to Africa which he took for a documentary shoot. La Patrie — Homeland is a meditation on the concept of being a global citizen. The film is shot by the team of Isaac Tudilu Paulo, Nicolas Vert and Alam Khan in the heavenly landscapes of Paris and Commercy. The beautiful vistas and soothing music make La Patrie — Homeland a sensory cinematic experience. But it is not meant for casual viewing. Take the plunge only if you are prepared to invest yourself in it.
Rating: 7.5/10
A version of this review was first published in The Sunday Guardian.
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