Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska Writer: Roberto Bolesto
Cast: Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszanska, Kinga Preis, Andrzej Konopka, Jacob Gierszal
Thriller | Poland
Agnieszka Smoczynska has made her name in Poland for a string of lively short films and her feature debut is no exception. Bursting onto the screen THE LURE is an all singing musical fairytale strictly for the grown-ups and set in a Warsaw nightclub where two mermaid sisters are washed up on dry land to experience life as sexy sirens in human form.
Based on a throwback to the Communist era when glamour clubs of the Polish capital staged burlesque style evenings – not unlike those that exist in London today – these ‘dancings’ (the title literally means ‘The Daughters of the Dancing”) have disappeared since the country joined the mainstream West, so this is pretty much a retro reverie rather a drama with real characters and a well-formed narrative arc.
Water babies Silver (Marta Mazurek) and Golden’s (Michalina Olszanska) first frolic on earth attracts the attention of the club’s manager (Zygmunt Malanowicz) who hires them as a star feature entitled “The Lure” and with their sylphlike figures, flowing locks and sensational singing voices they perform topless to the sounds of in-house band “The Family” headed by vocalist ‘mom’ (Kinga Preis) and her Bass Player (Jakub Gierszal) and Drummer (Andrzej Konopka).
Soon, the mermaids – who manage to suppress their natural carnivorous tendencies – have moved in with ‘the family’ in a small flat where romance is on the cards for the Bass Player and Silver, who hatches a drastic plan to make him fall in love with her. But before the narrative can really be meaningful, the film lurches off into full musical mode with a string of numbers performed in various venues, one being a shopping centre. This debacle adds just another layer of fantasy to an already ditzy drama embellished with impressive psychedelic flourishes and strobe lighting aplenty.
The cast are clearly onboard with Smoczynska’s artistic vision of her own childhood throwback to communism, but for most viewers outside Poland THE LURE remains a mildly entertaining but ultimately unsatisfying experience beyond its imaginative ‘music and lights’ set pieces and zany performances. MT
KINOTEKA FILM FESTIVAL | 17 MARCH – 5 APRIL | 26 MARCH 17.30 REGENT STREET CINEMA