FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL DIARY, 7/19/2016 (THE LURE)

Yesterday, I only had one screening, of a film that’s already been discussed at this site. But, before I get into that bit of redundancy, I want to give you some advice that may seem obvious in retrospect but is still important to keep in mind: when you’re staying in a hotel in a strange city and you buy a bottle of wine (or in this case of locally produced ice cider) to drink for a nightcap, be sure to remember to purchase a corkscrew as well. Otherwise, you might end up accidentally gashing your finger while trying to pry the cork loose with various sharp objects, like I did. (What finally worked was pushing the cork down into the bottle using my Ego e-cigarette battery—except that after I succeeded the battery was also stuck in the bottle! To reiterate: remember to buy a corkscrew!)

Since I have a short report today, I’ll also fill up space by mentioning that, if you attend a Fantasia screening here in Montreal and you do not have pink or blue cotton-candy hair (women) or a lumberjack beard (men), and/or a sleeve of tattoos (either sex), you may feel like something of an outsider. But everyone here is super-polite, and treat us clean-shaven, untattooed freaks with the same dignity and respect as they do normal people.

The Lure screening was not sold out ahead of time, but the theater was again packed. Director Agnieszka Smoczynska had been scheduled to appear, but had to cancel for personal reasons. She supplied a short video introduction to the film instead, which was charmingly filmed with a couple of young girls in the background, jumping up and down and trying to catch the camera’s attention. She didn’t provide much new information on the film, but she did seem thankful for the opportunity.

Still from The Lure (2016)I encourage you all to read (or re-read) Alex Kittle’s review, since most of what I would have to say about The Lure would be redundant. The overall message of this movie is “never date a bisexual singing stripper killer mermaid, it will end in a heart-rending scene.” You’ve never seen anything quite like it. Because Alex synopsized the plot and themes so well, and because I agree with her assessment that this genre-busting future cult favorite has a real shot at making the List, I’ll just add a few scattered bullet point observations:

  • The mermaid tails here are much longer than what we’re used to seeing, maybe twelve feet altogether. It’s in keeping with the movie’s over-the-top feel: it keeps giving you more than you expect.
  • This is a very sexy movie—Ariel would blush.
  • The idea of sex with a mermaid is kind of disgusting, yet strangely alluring.
  • If the mermaids really are biological sisters, then there’s a hint of incest to go along with the bestiality. Still, the film never feels perverted (kinky, yes).
  • Marta Mazurek (“Silver”) was the lead, and she’s very appealing. I was more impressed with Michalina Olszanska (“Golden”), however, primarily because of the intensity of her stare. When she’s feeling malicious, you actually feel afraid looking into those eyes; when she’s aroused, you feel almost as terrified. Both of these actresses appear in the drama I, Olga Hepnarová, also playing at Fantasia (there, Olsanskaand takes the lead).
  • The musical numbers are mostly disco style. The scene staged in the shopping center was the only one that looks like a song-and-dance production number; most of them are smaller scale, like cabaret acts or music videos.
  • Poland has no tradition of musicals that I’m aware of.
  • Whoever did the subtitles took care to make the song lyrics rhyme in English—not an easy job for the translator, but a detail-oriented touch that’s appreciated.
  • I was a bit baffled by the song that featured the family hooked up to bags of glucose.
  • The Lure features the only musical number I can think of that takes place during a gory surgical operation. Mermaids do not require anesthesia.
  • The audience applauded wildly at the big final scene, indicating just how deeply they had come to identify with these alien sisters.

The Lure is highly recommended and had the audience buzzing, and I would be slightly shocked if it did not land a distribution contract soon.

On to tomorrow, when we’ll be watching a vintage Japanese propaganda cartoon and another oddball horror character story.

2 thoughts on “FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL DIARY, 7/19/2016 (THE LURE)”

  1. “The Lure” won Best Film at Portugal’s “Fantasporto” (sort of our equivalent of Fantasia) last year. Curiously, Agnieszka was also not present there; the cinematographer attended in her place. Also took Best Cinematography and Direction.

    It most certainly won’t be distributed here, though. Good luck with the rest of the coverage; I wish I could be there (It truly sounds like a weirdophile’s paradise).

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