With the help of her best friend, JinJie (Hayden Lam) and her fearless guide Kaeia (Darnell Rhea), Savitri must quickly journey to the Underworld to beg the Lord of Death for her true love's life back. Along the way, she learns about the plight of all the people under her rule, including the long-oppressed Forest People, and eventually learns that the curse can only be broken once she abandons the long-standing traditions of her royal family and rule fairly and justly over all peoples of the land. - KIDS FIRST! Reviews and Videos" />

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CANDLE & THE CURSE, THE

What to know:
CANDLE & THE CURSE, THE is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 7-18
98 minutes
FeatureFilm
ANUJA GANPULE-SHEOREY
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CANDLE & THE CURSE, THE cover image
The unique storyline and high production quality make The Candle & The Curse an enjoyable watch for viewers of all ages. The plot intertwines several mythological elements from all corners of the world, especially focusing on beliefs of the Hindu religion. The incredible cinematography, editing and special effects involved enhance the beauty of the film.

The storyline follows a headstrong and stubborn girl, Princess Savitri, who is adamant that magic exists. When a witch places a curse upon the princess and she faces the loss of her true love, Savitri's beliefs are confirmed. She journeys to the Underworld with her guide Kaeia and friend JinJie to save her true love before it's too late! Along the way she encounters goblins, ghouls and other monstrous beings.

The Candle & The Curse provides a fresh take on a literary trope (the existence of magic, a curse being put upon a lover and an odyssey prompted by the resultant death). And the snappy, witty character of Savitri and her complex character arc add a zesty element to the film that proves hard to find other fantasy films.

The cinematography had me spellbound. I especially like the shots when the characters travel through the woods. It is quite remarkable how, even in dimly lit settings, clarity is maintained - probably the perks of a great camera like the RED 4K! All of the costumes suit the time period and storyline of the film. The intricate attention to detail in the design and production of the garments is evident. Many of the costumes seem to be sewn from traditional Indian or Chinese clothing.

The sets are incredibly believable and vivid; and seem to be alive! I felt as if I was with Savitri, JinJie, and Kaeia in the dark, sinister forests, whimsical kingdoms and the incredibly intricately imagined Underworld.

Music and sound effects play a large part in this film. They help amplify actions, plot stages, and character progressions. I especially like the sound effects in this film as they truly help enhance the fantastic visuals and push the storyline along. I love the special effects! The orbs signifying the consciousness of those who died and the golden pulses emanating from the palms of the characters when they wield magic rendered me speechless. Everything looks and feels magical! Director, writer and producer Anuja Ganpule-Sheorey leads the effort in creating this magical film. Kseniya Yorsh also acts as a producer in this film. Ashwini Ganpule plays Savitri, Hayden Lam plays JinJie, Miles Tagtmeyer plays Satyavan and Darnell Rhea plays Kaeia. Of all the characters, Savitri and Kaeia have the most depth and seem to be the most nuanced. However, in some scenes, the delivery - from all characters - seems a bit forced. My favorite character is Savitri. She does not just take a physical voyage, but a mental one and matures as the film progresses. It's quite incredible to compare minute twenty with minute ninety.

The message is that justice, true love and goodwill will always prevail. You should be aware that the film does promote some negative behavior and shows kids doing risky things that kids might imitate. At points, kids defy their parents. There are also scenes connoting death, but they're pretty benign.

I give The Candle & The Curse 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. It is entertaining and a great watch, with a multicultural and spiritual slant.

Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

The unique storyline and high production quality make The Candle & The Curse an enjoyable watch for viewers of all ages. The plot intertwines several mythological elements from all corners of the world, especially focusing on beliefs of the Hindu religion. The incredible cinematography, editing and special effects involved enhance the beauty of the film.

The storyline follows a headstrong and stubborn girl, Princess Savitri, who is adamant that magic exists. When a witch places a curse upon the princess and she faces the loss of her true love, Savitri's beliefs are confirmed. She journeys to the Underworld with her guide Kaeia and friend JinJie to save her true love before it's too late! Along the way she encounters goblins, ghouls and other monstrous beings.

The Candle & The Curse provides a fresh take on a literary trope (the existence of magic, a curse being put upon a lover and an odyssey prompted by the resultant death). And the snappy, witty character of Savitri and her complex character arc add a zesty element to the film that proves hard to find other fantasy films.

The cinematography had me spellbound. I especially like the shots when the characters travel through the woods. It is quite remarkable how, even in dimly lit settings, clarity is maintained - probably the perks of a great camera like the RED 4K! All of the costumes suit the time period and storyline of the film. The intricate attention to detail in the design and production of the garments is evident. Many of the costumes seem to be sewn from traditional Indian or Chinese clothing.

The sets are incredibly believable and vivid; and seem to be alive! I felt as if I was with Savitri, JinJie, and Kaeia in the dark, sinister forests, whimsical kingdoms and the incredibly intricately imagined Underworld.

Music and sound effects play a large part in this film. They help amplify actions, plot stages, and character progressions. I especially like the sound effects in this film as they truly help enhance the fantastic visuals and push the storyline along. I love the special effects! The orbs signifying the consciousness of those who died and the golden pulses emanating from the palms of the characters when they wield magic rendered me speechless. Everything looks and feels magical! Director, writer and producer Anuja Ganpule-Sheorey leads the effort in creating this magical film. Kseniya Yorsh also acts as a producer in this film. Ashwini Ganpule plays Savitri, Hayden Lam plays JinJie, Miles Tagtmeyer plays Satyavan and Darnell Rhea plays Kaeia. Of all the characters, Savitri and Kaeia have the most depth and seem to be the most nuanced. However, in some scenes, the delivery - from all characters - seems a bit forced. My favorite character is Savitri. She does not just take a physical voyage, but a mental one and matures as the film progresses. It's quite incredible to compare minute twenty with minute ninety.

The message is that justice, true love and goodwill will always prevail. You should be aware that the film does promote some negative behavior and shows kids doing risky things that kids might imitate. At points, kids defy their parents. There are also scenes connoting death, but they're pretty benign.

I give The Candle & The Curse 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. It is entertaining and a great watch, with a multicultural and spiritual slant.

Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

A Princess. A Prince. True Love's First Kiss. "You too shall lose your true love!" When a witch places a curse on the day-dreaming, stubborn Princess Savitri (Ashwini Ganpule), she must grapple with her deep-seated belief in the magical reality of the curse, which is diametrically opposed to her true love Prince Satyavan's (Miles Tagtmeyer) staunch belief in fact-based inquiry. When it turns out that the curse is real, Savitri must act quickly to save her true love - before it's too late!

With the help of her best friend, JinJie (Hayden Lam) and her fearless guide Kaeia (Darnell Rhea), Savitri must quickly journey to the Underworld to beg the Lord of Death for her true love's life back. Along the way, she learns about the plight of all the people under her rule, including the long-oppressed Forest People, and eventually learns that the curse can only be broken once she abandons the long-standing traditions of her royal family and rule fairly and justly over all peoples of the land.

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