BUFF18 2016: The Lure & A Mermaid Tale

A Mermaid Tale –Short

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The first frames of the Boston Underground Film Festival begin with veteran commercial director Stephen Franciosa Jr.’s newest short, A Mermaid Tale. While the style and category of film type will spoil the short as a whole, we are inclined to say that this is a genre-bending short that really has you laughing in amazement for a very short while, yet has you gripping your seat in suspense and utter disbelief in a moment’s notice. I would highly recommend to see this short immediately.

Night Film Reviews: 7 Out of 10 Stars.

The Lure–Feature

The first feature film at the Boston Underground Film Festival is quite an original imagining. Hailed as the first musical to come out of Poland ever, the film is a dark and twisted fantasy fairytale with some sharp teeth, wicked humour and catchy musical overtures. At times, an innocent portrayal of love and heartbreak, at other times, a bloody, gory and seductive virginal trespassing fiction with a bite, director Agnieszka Smoczynska’s feature film debut is a beautiful homage to the work of Nicolas Winding Refn, and the creative and darkly menacing storytelling mind of David Cronenberg.

When mermaid sisters Silver and Golden (Marta Mazurka and Michelin Olszanska, respectively) emerge from the sleek and mysterious black waters near Warsaw, they initially are lured by their hunger of blood. Unfortunately for them, their latest prey, a punk rock glitz 80’s house band called The Fig and Dates who daily perform in a scuzzy and dirty local club nearby, lure the sister into the shady and hypnotic Polish nightlife scene, promising fame, fortune and of course, love, that changes the course of their lives, forever.

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After being seduced themselves by the local Mietek (Jakub Gierszal), the handsome young bass player of a low-rent nightclub band, the sisters, who have their tales transform to human legs when on land, and back to a tail when wet, make their way to the nightclub and meet the sleaze bag owner (Zygmunt Malanowicz), who at first, sees an opportunity to make the sisters barely legal eye-piece back-up singers. Surprising to everyone, the sisters instead rise to local stardom and municipal level fame during a surprise and unexpected performance of a Donna Summer classic. It surely doesn’t hurt that for most of their performances, they are barely wearing anything other than, perhaps, the glitter that covers the few inches that falls from the roof of the establishment.

While the story is really just a messed up version of Disney’s classic The Little Mermaid, it is quite interesting to see an inventive and whimsical story, blending not only genres, but also, the rules, regulations and conforms of characters within these genres. I mean, have you ever seen, or even heard of a movie starring two mermaid/vampire sisters? Part fairytale, part horror film, The Lure is a stylistic and highly remarkable visual feast of lustful gothic horror, with a mix of ill-intentioned musical numbers.

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As the story behind Silver and Golden unfolds, we come to realize that our highly unaware teenage creatures are way out of the water on this one. Silver, who has managed to capture the heart of Mietek, sprouting a musical love affair founded on high notes, glitter and glam, her sister, Golden, feeling the loneliness of the presence of her sister, and finds solace in short-lived romances with adorning fans and meek men, who she inevitably makes her dinner as well. Oops! Oh, and there is also the age old curse that , unless feelings are reciprocated, Silver can parish into the sunlight forever.

While screenwriter Robert Blesto’s script isn’t full of complex and wholly deep storytelling, disjointed in areas where musical numbers tell the stories and emotions of its characters more than dialogue, the sister’s are played magnificently by the two young actresses, even though their constant state of nudity and exposure is something you might think their parents might have contested against. Either way, The Lure is quite an original feature film and harrowing nightmare of a film that really changes the perception of blood-sucking mermaids, or creates its own altogether. Visually fixating yet willingly incoherent at times, the film really nails The Little Mermaid’s overall lesson; be careful who you fall in love with little girls, cause chances are, boys might break your little hearts and make you crazy, revenge seeking beautiful little monsters.

Night Film Reviews: 6 Out of 10 Stars.

Part Let The Right One In, part Disney Fairytale, The Lure is sure to lure you in on originality and intrigue alone. Like what you see and hear? Interested? Seen it and totally blown out of the water with it, or left like a dead fish in a fish tank? Leave your thoughts on the film below. 

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