Skip to main content
The Independent Critic

Nathan Felix
David Schulte

 "The Curse and the Symphony" an Exhilarating Doc 
Add to favorites

It is not often that I find myself using the word "exhilarating" when describing a short film. It is far less often that I find myself using such a word when describing a short-length documentary. However, there truly is no other word to describe The Curse and the Symphony, a nearly twenty-minute short doc that envelopes you with its sense of celebrating the discovery and creation of music.

The film centers around Austinite Nathan Felix's effort to break into the world of classical music through the recording of a symphony that it took him eight years to create. Felix, who goes by the name Nathan Noise as leader of the indie pop/classical collective The Noise Revival Orchestra, has worked with director David Schulte in documenting his journey of bringing to life "The Curse, The Cross, and the Lion," a 6-movement orchestral symphony that is clearly influenced by his years as an indie pop/punk musician without the usual musical training one normally associates with classical musicians.

The film had its premiere at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Film Festival and should have no problem finding a home on the indie/underground film festival circuit with its story that is involving, emotionally resonant, and ultimately, well, exhilarating.

The film kicks off as we seemingly interrupt what feels like has been a myriad of rejections that Felix has experienced in trying to find an orchestra that will agree to record his piece. Of course, this would be a really unusual documentary if we followed nothing but his failures and, indeed, we all get a sense of excitement when Felix finds an orchestra in New York that agrees to record. Schulte joined Felix and his team in New York as they worked with the orchestra trying to get all the pieces to work in the remarkably short time span of a mere two days. After the first day, it seems like Felix is destined for disappointment again as his background doesn't quite gel with the mechanics of orchestration and neither the orchestra nor Felix is feeling it.

Then, beautiful music starts to happen.

The Curse and the Symphony is a celebration of the creative spirit, a celebration of perseverance, a revelatory look at weaving together vastly different worlds of music and, maybe most of all, it's just a damn fine short film built around an inspired and damn fine musician.

If you get a chance, check it out. I promise you'll feel a lot better after the film than you did when it started.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic