The coronavirus epidemic had a serious effect on the work of filmmakers. The topic of viruses and incomprehensible biological phenomena became relevant and in demand again. And being isolated in quarantine for months struck a blow to the psyche and imagination of creative people. Many began to make films whose meaning is difficult to understand at first glance. Nowadays, alternative forms of conveying ideas are actively used. Some tapes can be considered experimental, such as the hour and a half long work “The Beautiful Curse. Scriptwriter and director Martin Garde Abildgaard sets the viewer a difficult task, but it is far from being the most difficult film in the history of cinema to understand.
The film’s protagonist is a young photographer. He doesn’t just shoot landscapes for magazines or fun weddings: the guy is a sophisticated artist and is willing to chase an original shot. In each picture Samuel tries to convey feelings and unconventional thoughts. The plot unfolds on a small island in the suburbs of a European metropolis. But there are no inhabitants on the streets, all of them are in their home beds or sitting in cafes. In an instant, something incomprehensible happened: people froze and became motionless. There is no way to diagnose death – they are not breathing, but they are not decomposing either. The only sign of life was a temperature of 36.6.
Authorities have surrounded the cursed place, helicopters are circling over the island, and calls for evacuation are heard on the radio. The government fears this is an epidemic that will soon spread to the rest of the country. The heart beats in all those who have frozen, and the slightest displacement of the body causes the pulse to increase greatly: if one begins to be transported, one’s main muscle will simply burst from the pressure. It is for this reason that no one is buried, no one tries to heal. Everyone is frozen in a certain posture. Some are lying in a sauna or floating on an air mattress in the pool.
The hero didn’t just sneak onto this island: he was here last year and fell in love with a girl. The photographer saw Stella in a local bar, but he never got the chance to meet her. Months later he realized that she was the lady of his dreams and his muse. In his mind he created an image of her, it seemed to him that he had known her since childhood. Samuel is ready to write a book about her deeds, life and behavior. The lover finds the home of this enchanting blonde: she is sound asleep, and on her arm is a tag with information about tests. From time to time the doctors visit her and record the condition of her immobile body.
A guy starts living in her house, gets a redfish, cooks, and eats whatever may be missing. He creatively decorates the windows with toys and souvenirs. Samuel finds her childhood diary and listens to an audiotape of Stella’s thoughts and secrets. In dreams and daydreams, the young people talk constantly, even stealing a car for a while and driving along the coast of the island. It’s hard to call this girl perfect – she may mention a swear word or smoke a joint, she often has adventurous ideas, and she has uncomfortable questions for gentlemen coming out of her mouth. But this does not spoil her – she is beautiful, natural, does not put herself above others. You can fall in love with her in a few seconds and forgive in the future any nasty things that are inevitable in life.
Samuel sits by her bedside for hours, admiring the color of her hair and the lines of her face. He blames himself for not taking the initiative the first time he met her. After all, if he had been brave, he would have taken Stella with him and not put her in danger on the damned island. The photographer can sleep on the floor beside her and dream of the day when she wakes up. Messages about the need to evacuate are periodically heard on the radio. But our hero is not afraid of infection, he has found a treasure that he is unable to leave behind. One day he became thirsty. He was so thirsty that he used water from a flower vase. The thirst would not go away: it was the main symptom of the infection.
The denouement of the plot is symbolic: Stella wakes up in the morning. She has difficulty standing up from her long sleep, her joints can barely bend, her movements are restricted. But the beauty finds the strength to wash her face and regain her composure. In the next room, a stranger is sleeping soundly – it is impossible to wake him up. She hits him with a pillow and screams loudly. Thoughts arise in her head that he is having a scary dream. Stella is outraged that he ate all the apples, but she is taken aback by the many mementos and decorations with which the house is furnished. A fish is floating on a shelf in a jar, and a huge inflatable flamingo smiles at her in the hall: such a gift she dreamed of as a child!
On the table by the typewriter there is an envelope with a letter from a sleeping Samuel – the text helps her understand what is going on. Now the photographer in love is sound asleep, while she is awake and mentally begins to get to know him. The guy and the girl switched roles, the man sacrificed himself and brought out of a sleepless sleep the lady, who forever entered his romantic heart. The final scene is brief: the young woman gets up from the seat of the empty bus and heads for the door. In her hand is a plastic bag of water. There are two red fish swimming in the water – the very kind of fish Samuel had at the beginning of the film at Stella’s house.
The author’s idea is clear: one has to look for his soul mate and not leave her even when she sleeps soundly. The film has a number of meanings. The fact that the plot is twisted around a strange epidemic does not give the right to enroll “Curse of the Beautiful” in the category of science fiction or thrillers. This is more of a romantic melodrama with elements of psychoanalysis: the film is a thorough analysis of our behavior, reasoning, thoughts, innermost secrets of the soul. Stella, upon awakening, was frightfully indignant that the photographer was reading her diaries and listening to the archive tapes. But the guy reassured her and told her that we all have such materials. And reading it didn’t turn the world upside down!