Film Review: Sexmission @ Cine-City, Duke of York’s Picturehouse, 06/12/2014

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Sexmission, made in Poland in 1984 during the most severe of the Communist years, can be seen as a hilariously funny science fiction comedy on the surface. The plot follows two scientists who agree to undergo an experiment into hibernation for what they believe will be three years. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the hibernation period lasts a lot longer and when they awake they find they’re held captive by an underground society that contains only females.

The pair work excellently together, with one playing a wannabe stud who struggles to take his situation seriously and the other a nervous neurotic. The film pays sentiment to the strength and eternal bound of the male bond, quite like A Boy and his Dog, which likewise can be seen as apocalyptic buddy comedy. Aesthetically, the flick lends a lot of its influence to other science fiction from the 70s and 80s, such as Logan’s Run and the original Star Wars series. This works particularly well as the underground base, where all of humanity lives, seems like the inside of a spacecraft and is quite claustrophobic. The claustrophobia puts the two protagonists in close intimacy with many females who don’t actually know what intimacy or sexual intercourse is. Due to the lack of males, the matriarchal society depends on parthenogenesis reproduction to stay afloat and wear well designed, alluring costumes, which adds to the comedy as we see the attempts of these two ‘lost men’ to save humanity, in a particularly male fashion, initially go appallingly.

Since the film’s release, many critics have commented on the satirisation of Poland’s Communist regime as bubbling under the film. The women in the film can be seen as the oppressive Socialist party, who can’t deal with any outsiders or dissidents and go to many lengths to try and change their way of thinking: ‘naturalisation’ in the film, a process that turns males into females. Juliusz Machulski’s piece speaks volumes about Poland’s foray into Socialism as a non-believer would undergo awful atrocities and a life not worth believing in. Due to the overall dominance of the leading party, the film perfectly picks up on these things and puts a comic spin on them as the men constantly struggle to escape the clutches of the women who imprison them. To most, this would be a dream but Machulski’s portrayal makes it seem hilariously terrifying and oppressive.

As the film is coming to a close the whole set up completely changes quite dramatically but still keeps the viewer ultimately engrossed to find the outcome of the two protagonists and their newly recruited female followers. With an unexpected twist, the film poignantly relays the importance of males to females and females to males, whilst also portraying the hilarious absurdity of their relationships. This wonderful exposé into the future culminates in one of the greatest credit sequences I’ve ever seen, as it’s one that not only reflects the perfect philosophy of the film, but that will stay with me for the rest of my days.

Written by Tom Johnson

The Verse Staff

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