Directed by: #SatyajitDas
Written by: Satyajit Das and #KoushikBit
Film review by: Brian Penn
Paintings in the Dark is an evocative title for this visually striking film by Satyajit Das. It tells the story of Emmanuel (Akash), a blind boy who finds comfort and expression in an uncanny ability to paint. The story begins with Emmanuel explaining his gift to gallery owner Samuel (Biswajit Ghosh). Periodic flashbacks provide the back story to a harsh upbringing. A cold and insensitive father abandons Emmanuel and his mother who seeks work to ensure their survival. His mother subsequently goes missing and resolves to find her in the city. Alone and vulnerable Emmanuel finds an ally in Jerel (Sayanti Chattoraj) but will he find a happy ending?
The film is ultimately saved by some beautifully captured shots and a nicely understated soundtrack providing a haunting glow. This compensates for captioned subtitles that are often poorly constructed. Grammatical inaccuracies make the narrative difficult to follow with dialogue that feels stilted and awkward. The producers have seemingly opted for a literal translation and not the colloquial equivalent thus denying the film a truly authentic voice. The editing is also very rough in places which takes the shine off some carefully framed visuals. Whilst these issues constantly nag the film has sufficient quality to bring it over the line.
A blind kid who can see light in a world of darkness is a miraculous contraction in life that reminds us what can be achieved against all the odds. We might even call it life-affirming or heart-warming; either way, it becomes a rewarding experience but the viewer will need to work a bit harder to find the payoff.