MIFF 2016: The Lure (2015)

Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska
Starring: Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszanska, Kinga Preis, Andrzej Konopka, Jakub Gierszal, Zygmunt Malanowicz

Two mermaids named Silver and Golden are found by a group of musicians having a drink by the river and recruited to work in a nightclub as part of their act. Although Silver (Marta Mazurek) is happy to go along with working in the club, Golden (Michalina Olszanska) still lusts after the hearts of humans as that what they live on usually. This causes a lot of trouble with their working conditions and one of the mermaids falls for the bass player. They can also communicate with each other telepathically and have the power of sirens.

While this is a retelling of the little mermaid story, it is more of the Old Testament version with moments of extreme gore. While not a full on horror movie there are times when the mermaids grow sharp teeth and attack people and one of them is fully sawed in half at one point.

This movie is a musical and does have dance numbers. There used to be a whole genre of Eastern European Communist musicals back during the Cold War that are available online if you look for them.

While the film does have elements of camp and comedy it is not really a funny more or a fun gory romp. It is more of a serious story in the mode of an allegory on love and what people are willing to give up to find love.

The story is set in the 1980s and does manage to keep with this area rather well with no real clangers I can see with the costumes or hair.

The two actresses playing the mermaids walk around nude for a lot of the film but for some reason they do not have functional genitalia while in human form “like a Barbie doll” it is described and when they have tails there is just a slit in the tail (I will refrain from jokes about fish fingers).

The sexuality of the mermaids has a question mark over it as one of them does have sex with a female police officer and they kiss each other with tongues whilst on stage. They are not really fully regarded as “human” by either themselves or the other characters. Even their merman friend said they are “only on holiday” in the human world.

There is a lot of music in the movie and dance numbers. A lot of the plot development happens during the songs also. The soundtrack can be found on iTunes and Spotify.

I would recommend this movie if you liked the Little Mermaid story but want to see a different darker version of the story and also enjoy movies with musical numbers.

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