Seksmisja (Sexmission) (1984)
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Audience Reviews for Seksmisja (Sexmission)
Sexmission (Seksmisja; dir. Juliusz Machulski, 1984) follows many science fiction film conventions to tell the story of two relatively average men?Maksymillian Paradays (Jerzy Stuhr) and Albert Starski (Olgierd ?ukaszewicz). They volunteer in a cryonics experiment that goes awry. Instead of only being frozen for three years as planned, the men are frozen for fifty-three years?and wake up in a slightly-Orwellian society composed entirely of women. As this film was released in the year 1984, it is plausible to consider it as a member of the group of films to come out this year inspired by the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, including (but not nearly limited to) 1984 (dir. Michael Radford, 1984). Other explicit science fiction references include Soylent Green (dir. Richard Fleischer, 1973), with everyone?s love for strawberry jam and government-sponsored cannibalism. As Sexmission is clearly billed as a science fiction comedy film, it is difficult to decide which questionable things featured in the film are truly questionable or just there for comedic effect. Are the ?futuristic? sets in the year 2044 really poorly constructed, or are they just made to look that way as a reference to older and low budget science fiction movies from the 50s? Are the reactions of the women after being kissed by Maks corny and unbelievable because it is a corny and unbelievable film, or because it is making fun of (or, possibly, even an homage to) B-movies that would feature the same type of acting? Most importantly, does the goofiness of the misogynistic characters in the film show that misogyny is bad, or does the film take on a misogynistic slant more than just for parody? Even if it was all just for parody, does that excuse the way that it portrays women and their relationship with men? I am not so sure?or at least, definitely not as sure as the filmmaker would probably claim to be when questioned about it. In Sexmission, while in the ?present? (which is really seven years into the future from the time the film was released), soft focus and unusual lighting is used heavily, giving a dreamlike appearance. The focus is the softest when in the freezing chamber?including when Albert returns in a dream later in the film. This could mean that the present is really the ?fake? setting for these two characters, and in the future, everyone?s ?real? personalities come out: women are bent on controlling Earth, and hate men more than anything else. The women in the future wear revealing costumes (including, at times, no tops at all), changing their image (especially from Maks?s point of view) from domineering to regular sex objects. Despite being so technologically advanced, all of the younger women shown still have a ditzy quality about themselves, especially when in the presence of men. Men are then portrayed as having an inescapable power over women, which is most powerfully shown through the film?s biggest twist: Her Excellency (Wies?aw Michnikowski) is secretly a man. This is so relevant because, despite the women not knowing he was male, he easily rose to power in the society of women. Women subconsciously were compelled to vote for a man, fulfilling some need for a male figure to rule over them. The film?s misogyny becomes most apparent with this revelation?and with this twist so does the line between comedy and actual author stance become the most blurred. Another allusion in the film is the Tree of Knowledge (or, as the film calls a similar device, the ?First Tree?). Instead of woman (Eve) being the original sinner by choosing to eat the apple, it is the men in this film who do it?but without the warning that Eve received not to. In a society of man, God gave Eve the instructions not to eat the apple, but she chose to anyway. In a society of women, they essentially trapped the men into committing the largest non-violent crime possible. Women are not fair. Maks?s daughter is willing to kill him because he did not fulfill his duties as a father (due to uncontrollable circumstances), so she is another unfair woman. He did not live up to her expectations, so, because women are so evil, she believes he deserves to die. Is it innocently ironic and comical that the women have a man ruling over them, or is it the creator of the film putting everything into place the way he believes it should be? It will be impossible to ever truly know, so it is not worth attempting to come up with a definite answer.
Yes, a lot of the comedy is broad, stupid and sexist but there is some pretty funny stuff here. The film manages to be quite entertaining from start to finish, with some fairly incisive social commentary. There's a lot of retro charm here, although some of it will seem dated. The cinematographer goes way overboard on the lens flares, I guess that's someone's concept of "futuristic". Stuhr has wonderful screen presence, as always.
Polish sci-fi sex comedy that's quirky but charming.
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