AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL 2013
By Don Simpson | October 28, 2013
Director: Jesse Peyronel
Writer: Jesse Peyronel
Starring: Vinessa Shaw, Robert Kazinsky, Bess Wohl, Ross Partridge, Christian Winsor, Stephen O’Neil Martin, Ben Hanson
Leigh (Vinessa Shaw) has lived a reclusive existence in a secluded old home on the outskirts of town for her entire adult life. You see, Leigh has excreted extremely potent pheromones ever since puberty, so anyone with the ability to smell is affected by Leigh’s presence. So, Leigh avoids any and all interaction with other people because men become violently infatuated with her, while women detest her. (Yes, I guess all of the townspeople are heterosexual.)
Guy (Robert Kazinsky) is a wandering handyman who ends up on Leigh’s property. When he does not go all Fatal Attraction at first sight on her, Leigh realizes that there is something different about this Guy. As it turns out, Guy has no sense of smell, so he is immune to Leigh’s heightened feminine wiles. Luckily for Leigh, Guy has a knack for electrical repairs, because she desperately needs some help with her alarm system; so, Guy temporarily moves in to Leigh’s guest cottage. It might be fairly obvious that Leigh will eventually fall for Guy, but it also seems that he is not the Guy he purports to be.
Loosely derived from the titular beings of Greek mythology, Siren deals directly with the male fantasy. In the male brain, Leigh is transformed into pure sexual desire; she is merely a vessel for men to fantasize about. Men do not fall in love with Leigh, they become enamored with something that does not exist. In this powerful feminist diatribe about sexual attraction and obsession, Leigh suffers as the victim of relentless male aggression. Rather than utilizing her fragrant superpower as a means to lure men into her embrace, Leigh does not want the scent that she has been given. Instead, Leigh desperately craves a normalcy she can never have — for a man to fall in love with her true self, not an idealized figment of the male imagination.