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Poster for Cult 101: The Lure (2015)
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Cult 101: The Lure (2015)

Opens on May 26

Director: Agnieszka Smoczyńska Run Time: 93 min. Rating: NR Release Year: 2015

Starring: Andrzej Konopka, Jakub Gierszał, Kinga Preis, Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszańska

Country: Poland
Language: Polish

Cult 101 at Gateway Film Center

A celebration of the best cult films of all time.

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About the film:

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.

“wholly original and ominously enchanting”

—David Ehrlich, IndieWire

About the filmmaker:

Agnieszka Smoczyńska is a Polish film and television writer and director. Originally a student of art history and culture, she completed her education at the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing in Warsaw and the the Krzysztof Kieślowski Film School in in Katowice. She won many student awards at international film festivals for her shorts The Hat (2003) and Three Loves (2004). In 2007, she directed the short film Aria Diva (2007), which won best fiction film at the Krakow Film Festival.  The short was written by Robert Bolesto, who also wrote the screeplay for Smoczyńska’s first full-length film The Lure (2015). For its artistic vision, the feature received a Special Jury Award in the World Cinema competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

Her follow-up feature Fugue (2018) was presented in Film Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2018, together with Agnieszka Holland, Kasia Adamik and Olga Chajdas, Smoczyńska directed 1983, the first Polish series for Netflix. Based on the best seller by Marjorie Wallace, Smoczyńska’s first English-language film The Silent Twins (2022) tells the real-life story of two inseparable sisters who moved to a new country and found themselves the only black children in the community.

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