The Seventh Walk
Max Nelson’s writings on film and literature have appeared in n+1, The New Republic, The Threepenny Review, Film Comment, and the online edition of The New York Review of Books, where he is an editorial assistant.
In The Seventh Walk, Amit Dutta returns to northern India’s Kangra Valley, the lush mountain setting featured in his Nainsukh. As in the prior film, here Dutta considers the region’s rich visual arts tradition through the oeuvre of a native artist, in this case the contemporary landscape painter Paramjit Singh. Deftly blending sound, image, and text, this subtly hypnotic film meditates upon the figure of Singh commingled with surreal tableaux inspired by the artist’s paintings. First glimpsed wandering the valley’s dense woodlands, the painter is seen peering through the sun-dappled canopy; soon he spies a mysterious footprint and follows the forest path to the base of a gnarled old tree. There he sits in Buddha-like repose while Dutta’s protean camera conjures a series of arresting images: rocks defy gravity and levitate gently upwards; lichens and moss multiply in layered afterimages mimicking Singh’s intricate brushstrokes; and a celestial maiden takes to the sky, bearing ambrosial milk to the artist’s darkened atelier. Dutta masterfully weaves these iconic passages together with Singh’s painterly technique, merging the still and moving image into an impressionistic assemblage that pays homage to the legends, folk traditions, and artistry of this unique corner of India.
To Be Continued
Amit Dutta, India, 2007
A dream of a village’s past mixes memories, myths, and actuality.