Aneek Chaudhari’s experimental film Cactus, a silent feature-length fiction film on religion-based stigma, will be presented at the Cannes Festival 2019.
The film with its plot based on the story of Jesus Christ opened in Vienna and was nominated for Rome Film Awards.
The film does not follow a linear narrative, it dwells more on symbolic motifs to narrate the journey of Christ and Mother Mary. Loosely based on art forms Pieta and the Last Supper, the director has stated that he has represented the eastern world, globally through this film.
According to Aneek, “Cactus was perceived on observing the radical changes taking place in the shadow of religion. I thought none but Mother Mary could be depicted as the ambassador of peace. Besides, eastern traditions have been questioned a numerous times; now, it is the turn to show a mirror to the West as well.”
The title of this film derives itself from alternative perspectives on life. Aneek adds, “When we hear the word ‘Cactus’, the first characteristic that defines it are the thorns; however, the stem is a watery part of the plant but people fail to relate to it. I wanted to show an alternative reality to life. That’s why it is named Cactus.”
Anurupa Chakraborty and Aishani De play Mother Mary in two different eras, while Aparajita Dey plays the female avatar of Jesus Christ.
On casting a female actor in the role of Jesus Christ, Aneek says, “I cannot think of any male as the epitome of Christ, as depicted in Bible. The sensitivity, or the endurance, I strongly feel only a woman has such characteristics.
However, earlier Amrita Chattopadhyay was my first choice, due to unavoidable circumstances, she was replaced by Aparajita.”
His last two films, The Wife’s letter and White were also screened at the Cannes in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
White was also nominated for numerous awards worldwide, also winning a few.
This year, the Cannes Film Festival will take place from 14 May 2019 to 25 May 2019. Cactus will be presented at Marche du film genre i.e. Film Market of Cannes, according to Chaudhari.