The Seeding

The Seeding poster

There is nothing forgiving in the desert, a place harsh and hard, sharp and prickly, disorienting, dry and unwelcoming yet magnificent, a backdrop against which photographer Wyndham Stone has chosen to capture a solar eclipse, devoid of human habitation or intervention other than the strange child he encounters alone in the rocks, saying he is lost and asking for help but whose actions are inconsistent with their plea.

The instinct automatically to help, the child is resistant, even hostile, leading Stone deeper into the desert, away from any possibility of cellphone reception to call for help as the sun sets; sleeping rough, Stone finds a deep hollow concealing a shack to which he descends, but the next morning the ladder has been removed and he is trapped with a woman who appears to expect him yet avoids any direct answers to his increasingly frustrated questions.

The Seeding; photographer Wyndham Stone (Scott Haze) travels to the desert to capture an eclipse.

Filmed in the astonishing locations of Utah which served similarly in the original Planet of the Apes and a host of Westerns from She Wore a Yellow Ribbon to The Outlaw Josie Wales and more recently Westworld, The Seeding is written and directed by Barnaby Clay and stars Antlers’ Scott Haze as Stone, guided against his will to a rendezvous with The Sacrament’s Kate Lyn Sheil from which he is unable to withdraw his presence or consent.

That encompassing beauty is a contrast with the ugliness of what is on display, the opening shot that of a dirty child, unsupervised, wandering the bush and chewing on a finger, not one of its own but a random severed, bloody human digit, setting up primal themes of hunger, nature and nurture against the elements of the wide sky and the baked earth, the “strays” who haunt the plateau children only one step above feral, cruel and taunting from their position atop the rock face.

The Seeding; trapped at the bottom of the cliff face without equipment, there is no escape for Wyndham Stone (Scott Haze).

Uncertain whether the woman is a jailer or a fellow prisoner, Stone cannot know whether he should plead with her for clemency or complicity in his attempts to escape but with little purpose beyond the swiftly apparent intention that Stone is to be used as breeding stock The Seeding fails to fertilise the barren ground between where the hills have eyes and the children stalk the corn rows, the ritual elements and cave paintings which hint at a deeper mythology never becoming more than background details.

The already unclear passage of time becoming more fractured after Stone’s inevitable and repeated injuries, the introduction of abstract images provides visual variety but they are metaphors obscured in mud, the performances never less than convincing and the scenery majestic but The Seeding taking far longer than is required with a microcosm of domesticity which serves as little more than a self-perpetuating menagerie to entertain the strays.

The Seeding will be available on digital download from Monday 12th February

The Seeding; the walls of rock form a magnificent but inescapable prison for Wyndham Stone (Scott Haze).



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