Producer: Art skills Films
Scriptwriter: Anne Gathoni
Director: Mwendwa Mutua
Curse is a short Kenyan film that tackles the condition of autism in a a whole new perspective.It is centred around the life of Njeri, an autistic girl who is treated harshly by peers and her parents because of her condition.
She only finds refuge in her brother, Kibe, who is daring enough to stand by her and be her voice in whatever circumstances that she is faced with. Njeri does not speak but she is an amazing artist who paints most of her time drawing and painting.
Their parents feel bitter and ashamed of their daughter’s condition. Her father, Leonard, is a violent and habitual smoker who is always unapologetic for his actions. He believes that Njeri is a curse brought into the family as a result of witch-hunting and he even regrets having married their mother in the first place.
Njeri’s mother, Magdalene, on the other hand tries to hold on to a hope that her daughter may be well if given medication but it is not long until her husband’s attitude takes a toll on her too.
She also begins to resent her daughter and easily gets irritated by her behaviour. Magdalene also blames Njeri for the deteriorating state of her marriage. Neither of the parents appreciate Njeri’s talent in drawing.
The situation worsens when her husband does the unthinkable; raping his own daughter. Ironically, the mother finds her ailing daughter a threat to her marriage, in what she terms as trying to have a share of her husband. Blinded by her desire to keep her marriage afloat, she sees no reason to have her husband apprehended for his crimes. Instead, without any care or guilt she throws her children into the street that very night.
All along, Njeri and Kibe have been friends with one of the neighbour couples; Curtis and Rina, who always take the time to appreciate Njeri’s drawings. They seek shelter at their house and the couple takes Njeri to hospital. Leonard is later arrested and slapped with a life sentence.
Njeri’s mother eventually gives up her children for adoption to the rescuer couple since she is leaving for another country and does not want to be burdened. The parents turn out as being the curse and not their children as they had presumed.
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The foster parents ensure proper therapy is accorded Njeri. The once dull and withdrawn autistic girl, lights up because of the love shown to her. She steadily improves and is becoming more aware of her surroundings. Her brother also enjoys bonding sessions with his new father.
Curse is a captivating movie which serves as an educative tool on the subject of autism. In recent years people have been sensitized about autism and the myths associated with it are being demystified.
This is a movie for the entire family to watch as it captures aspects of parenting, sibling relations and the duty of society as a whole in understanding, supporting and appreciating people living with autism.
The videography is well cut out and character development was well done since each of them perfectly sank into their roles.
Starring is an intriguing cast which includes Mwaniki Mageria, Shirleen Atieno, Norah Ndonye, Gerald Langiri, Emily Achieng’, and Youngwayne Oduor among others.