Writer-director Vladan Nikolic’s “Allure” is neither a documentary nor a traditional scripted drama but, rather, an extensively improvised experimental film relating the New York stories of a group of diverse immigrant women.
Set against the curious backdrop of the 2011 Occupy movement, the interwoven pieces pit personal struggles against that larger context with intriguing but ultimately distancing results.
Attempting to carve out an identity for themselves are Liliana (Diana Lotus), an Estonian immigrant who runs an escort service; Marta (Julia Konrad Viezzer), a Mexican immigrant who works as a hotel chambermaid and waitress; Valerie (Madeleine Assas), a French TV journalist; and Jin (Ying Ying Li), a Chinese college student.
As the film progresses, paths will be intersected and secrets will be revealed, as Manhattan looms large in the background.
Although the women’s experiences have been strikingly captured by cinematographer Aleksandar Kostic in silvery black-and-white CinemaScope shot on video, this throwback to 1960s-era Situationist sinema takes the uniformly strong performances only so far.
This portrait of strong, independent women grappling with change in their individual lives holds initial allure, but the effect proves ephemeral.
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes.
Playing: Downtown Independent, Los Angeles.