Giving Teeth to Old Myths in The Lure

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Oct 16, 2017

A coming-of-age musical spiked with elements of gory horror, Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s darkly exuberant debut feature, The Lure, puts a modern spin on mythical archetypes. The movie follows Silver (Marta Mazurek) and Golden (Michalina Olszańska)—mermaid sisters who share a taste for human flesh—as they acclimate to life on land in 1980s Warsaw, where they become the stars of a popular nightclub act, and the former’s wayward affections threaten to upend their existence as they know it. For this synth-filled fantasy, Smoczyńska reimagined the mermaid species to suit her unruly sensibility as well as her feminist vision. In the below clip, taken from a documentary on our brand-new edition of the film, Smoczyńska discusses the evolution of her conception of The Lure’s central creatures, recounting how she found inspiration not only in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” but also in Homer’s brutal Sirens and the work of Polish artist Aleksandra Waliszewska, who would eventually go on to create a series of macabre paintings for the film’s animated opening sequence.