Back in September, Agnieszka Smoczyńska popped up on the list of phantom page names (here’s a link to the CriterionForum’s diligent record of phantom page additions), and since she only had one theatrical film to her credit, it seemed almost certain that Janus Films had acquired the theatrical rights to her film, Córki dancingu (The Lure).
In this bold, genre-defying horror-musical mashup – the playful and confident debut of Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska – a pair of carnivorous mermaid sisters are drawn ashore in an alternate ’80s Poland to explore the wonders and temptations of life on land. Their tantalizing siren songs and otherworldly aura make them overnight sensations as nightclub singers in the half-glam, half-decrepit fantasy world of Smoczynska’s imagining. In a visceral twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s original Little Mermaid tale, one sister falls for a human, and as the bonds of sisterhood are tested, the lines between love and survival get blurred. A savage coming-of-age fairytale with a catchy new-wave soundtrack, lavishly grimy sets, and outrageous musical numbers, THE LURE explores its themes of sexuality, exploitation, and the compromises of adulthood with energy and originality.
The Lure played at Sundance and Fantastic Fest earlier this year, and thanks to Janus will now open on February 1, 2017 at the IFC Center.
I wonder if we’ll see a mermaid on the upcoming Wacky New Years drawing from Jason Polan?