Maybe Bangladesh has been my favourite film event of the festival so far. With a traveller’s soul, a love of music and dreams of visiting India, this encapsulated so much of what I enjoy.
The screening began with a three-part cartoon short about the turbulent life of chickens from egg to Sunday roast, which came with a ‘may contain violence’ warning and needless to say, was hilarious. With evil revenge-seeking eggs, a chicken (unsuccessfully) crossing the road and a machine gun operating roast chicken, the journey from ‘Traumatic Beginnings’ to ‘Happy Ending’ was well received by most of the audience (in fairness, the warning was pretty clear).
Next up, Erich, who stars in and narrates the film, Maybe Bangladesh (which is in German with English subtitles) introduced the feature documentary with a song on the accordion. As the film is documenting Erich’s travels to source the sound of a mysterious, unlabelled cassette of Indian music he is given, introducing it this way really brings the story to life.
(Note: Apologies for the poor quality of this video, at this point my camera battery had died and I had to use my phone)
What I really liked about this documentary was its fun mix of live action footage and cartoon animation (using the same animators as the short film before it).
The plot follows Erich and his band mates, fellow musicians with itchy feet as they become mesmerised by the Indian music and want to share their own.
There is talk of such wonderful music coming from a higher power, but a Nepalese cook tells them, when asked where such wonderful music comes from: “Maybe Bangladesh…”.
As they journey through India on their search for the origin, they come to understand what culture shock really means, and deliver one of my favourite quotes from the film, above a soundtrack of traffic, horns and dogs barking, “We found noise before we found music…Indian noise is so penetrating even a shut down brain can’t handle it”.
When they find a man who tells them that the language of the cassette is Tamil and that the composer is dead, it seems that hope is lost. But the story doesn’t end there, as their hunt for the haunting voice of Govinda continues to lead them to some fascinating places.