The Girl Who Was Cursed Image

The Girl Who Was Cursed

By Michael Talbot-Haynes | January 29, 2023

Any movie, like The Girl Who Was Cursed, that starts with spaghetti western music, and psychedelic lettering for its font is already in my good books. Dwinger sets a bazooka beat early on, with her editor, Fatih Tura, laying out sharply timed cuts of cinematographer Douwe Hennink’s breakneck camera angles. The pacing of the imagery matches the swift clip of Dwinger’s script. Not wasting a second of the 46-minute running time, Dwinger gets the story going right away.

The filmmaker pulls a genius move of dropping a stoner in the middle of a Cornell Woolrich mystery. Suddenly having things disappear around you is something baffling yet familiar to marijuana enthusiasts. Within the safe confines of the mystery structure, the stoner comedy is free to frolic without holding up the plot. Helpfully the humor is hilarious, especially after a small helping of Maui Wowie. Dwinger has Barhnard’s weed slinger go higher than just about any comic relief pothead has before. He plays it so high to the point the screen melts. Dwinger’s direction of Kavus lurching from place to place in a custom fit of fog is spot on, walking the hilarious line between “what the?” and “been there!”

“…one of the best representations of a human chimney I have seen.”

Kavus plays the humorous aspects of Gizem completely straight, creating one of the best representations of a human chimney I have seen. We have come a long way since the offensive Smiley Face, where the pot-smoking heroine was treated like an out-of-control moron. I appreciated the commitment to realistic details here. For example, when I first saw Gizem buying just an eighth of herb, I thought, no way will that little bag last long with Kavus blasting one jay after another. But she goes back and buys another eighth the next morning. And then another eighth later on. Just like real life. I also approve of Dwinger making the lead’s strain of choice Amnesia. It is not only appropriate symbolically, but a high-performance Sativa-like Amnesia would keep her Gizem zoned out but still functioning.

It is really refreshing to see folks who use plants to pillow their nerve ends portrayed with respect instead of disdain. If you know the sweet kiss of the leaf, then set your cannabis vaporizers to stun and inhale The Girl Who Was Cursed. It is a high worth toking to.

The Girl Who Was Cursed screened at the 2023 Slamdance Film Festival.

The Girl Who Was Cursed (2023)

Directed and Written: Zara Dwinger

Starring: Sinem Kavus, Victor Ijdens, Frieda Barhnard, Oya Capelle Karsman, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

The Girl Who Was Cursed Image

"…pulls a genius move of dropping a stoner in the middle of a Cornell Woolrich mystery."

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