Dutta explores the inner psychological and creative world of an Indian artist who does charcoal painting through this mesmerising sensorial non-narrative.
Dir. Amit Dutta
2013 | India | Documentary / Experimental | 72 mins | 1.85:1 | No dialogue
Not rated – likely to be M18 for sexual scenes
Plot: Led by mysterious sounds and footprints, a painter wanders within a surreal space of the forest, his own paintings and oneiric spaces.
Awards: Official Selection (Rotterdam)
Source: Sudoor Sahkaar
Subject Matter: Abstract
Narrative Style: Experimental
Audience Type: Niche Arthouse
While Nainsukh (2010) represents Amit Dutta at the top of his game as far as his four features (so far) are concerned, The Seventh Walk is also a good place to start if you like to be introduced to his work, though it might test your patience if you are going in cold.
One of India’s best-known experimental filmmakers who has made tonnes of short films, Dutta brings his artistic eye and ear to this non-narrative exploring the inner psychological and creative world of the Indian artist Paramjit Singh. We see several of his charcoal drawings, some complete, others as he is creating, mainly of nature, particularly of trees.
But his paintings are not the focal point of The Seventh Walk; rather they act as the source of inspiration for Dutta. Art literally comes alive as the filmmaker shoots in live-action how it might feel being in these artworks.
He employs a plethora of visual tricks e.g. superimpositions, overlapping wipes, levitating stones, etc. as well as his trademark use of ambient sounds to heighten the sensorial experience of his film, creating indelible dreamlike scenes.
But what elevates The Seventh Walk into a near-spiritual engagement is his use of music—the plucking of a solitary Indian instrument that repeats now and then, giving the film an airy, seemingly boundless atmosphere.
This also locates a certain ‘Indianness’ (apart from several shots of the artist himself and two Indian women that feature in his paintings) within the film’s sheer abstractness.
Whether 70-ish minutes is too long or short will depend on how deeply engaged you might be with this artistic endeavour.