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Cinema of the Abstract

The Seventh Walk (2014)

Sometimes they pause, to listen to the music.

Dubbed "A tale of two stones", The Seventh Walk with its contemplative images and sitar score is a film meant to be slowly absorbed, a production following the creative process of an Indian artist Paramjit Singh, playing himself. A prolific figure himself, director Amit Dutta's film is definitely the kind which sadly lose from when being able to be seen easily on a large theatrical screen. Films like this, which can be accessed in the film festival circuit or in him homeland, can be accessed in the streaming era, but The Seventh Walk was definitely designed for a theatrical screen, in not only its contemplative images but also especially the sound design. The entire film does feel in danger of feeling even its slight length, but I can only imagine how more potent the film would be if, in a darkened screening room with the largest screen, you could experience its atmosphere that way.

It ascribes not to a plot. Singh the artist is seen wandering the natural countryside of his home, the green woodland to the open plain. An older man, he goes through life calmly and at times creates art, first highly detailed charcoal drawings but in various forms of artistic tools. He specialises in landscapes but not only does he work in other subjects but, as the film slowly includes a surreal whimsy, his own work as an artist also includes a lot of more abstract themes, including the prominence of rocks and stones unexpectedly pronounced in places or in unexpected places. With text translated in two languages, green text against black of poetry, The Seventh Walk is a film of beautiful natural images meant to be basked in, the creative spark that Paramjit Singh has to be found for a viewer in the time spent in this world with him.

Sound design is prominent here too, a world described and drawn without seeing it. Avian life, cats mewing, the wind blowing a gust and many other things are pictured as you can hear them in the soundtrack. One scene has the plucking of a tiny orange flower sound like on uprooted tree. The latter moment shows when the increasing amount of odd imagery starts to transpire, even being caught unnoticed by me as I was watching until repeated later. Singh's art has dreamlike and surreal iconography which Amit Dutta starts to create in the natural world, contrasting Singh's evocatgive bright coloured landscapes with the natural palette of the countryside. Tiny model houses are prominent, unexpectedly being found nestled in the side of trees, or on the rocks in the river. Rocks themselves are prominent in Singh's art, when one starts to float away from a model house on that aforementioned river, and others start to hover like UFOs around the environments.

Eventually, from a first person perspective, shoes start to fly too, introducing a young girl as one of the only few people in a film, baring the artist the film is on, entirely instead about the landscape's evocative nature. It is a film that can, honestly, be lost as a result of so many which follow its style of contemplative still scenes. Even the moments which have the image distorted do not break this, though does strike one at the end with an incredible impact when what it is presumed to be a painting is in fact a fully formed, three dimensional world. The whimsical nature of its stranger moments also won me over to The Seventh Walk, a film which has a lightened heart.

-Michael Hewis