The Lure (Córki dancingu)

(2015, directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska)
The Lure poster

A Siren’s Call

When Hans Christian Andersen dipped his pen into the salt waters of the North Sea, he unleashed a phenomenon few modern fairy tales have ever seen. The Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Smoczynska’s The Lure is a devastating reimagining of many of the themes explored by Andersen in his tale of unmet desires, unrequited love, and hungers that run fathoms deep, all the way to the worlds of the merpeople. Set against the burlesque facades of a rundown Warsaw cabaret, The Lure adds notes of grotesquerie, lust, and terror, while savoring Andersen’s taste for all that glitters and entrances—sometimes, to deadly effect.

Short featurettes: Sofia Coppola’s The Little Mermaid (2014, directed by Jack Bishop and Justin Nijm); trailer for Boniato (2014, directed by Eric Mainade); live reading of Emily Carroll’s “The Prince and the Sea” (2011)

Free and open to the public.

Part of the 20172018 Schlesinger Library Film Series

Fairy tales are frequently described as magic mirrors for our unseen selves. In them, we find reflected our own waking-life dreams—our happy endings and hopes of fairy tale romance—and our most irresistible nightmares. What does feminist discourse see in its own magic mirrors? This seven-part film series will explore the illuminating, alluring, provocative, polarizing, and playful pas de deux that is currently unfolding between feminism and the fairy tale against the stage of contemporary cinema. Each evening’s feature includes a film short and brief introduction to the programming.

Feminism and the Fairy Tale is curated by Katie Kohn, a doctoral candidate in film and visual studies in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University.