Young and handsome Sergio works the night shift as a trash collector in Lisbon, Portugal. He can't force himself to connect with his pretty female co-worker Fatima, who displays an avid ... See full summary »
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João Rui Guerra da Mata,
João Pedro Rodrigues
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Marcelo Briem Stamm
Young and handsome Sergio works the night shift as a trash collector in Lisbon, Portugal. He can't force himself to connect with his pretty female co-worker Fatima, who displays an avid interest in him, so instead Sergio roams the city with the trash company's pet dog. Eventually Sergio becomes fascinated with a sleek motorcycle, and then also its owner, João - a young man totally indifferent to Sergio. The frustrated trash collector's surfacing sexual desires unleash his darkest impulses, sending him down a dangerous path of violence, depravity and degradation. Written by
O FANTASMA is not a movie for the casual audience. This dark and seamy vision of sexual confusion is almost unremittingly harrowing, but director Joao Pedro Rodriques drives his vision of a young lad (who lives on the periphery of society and longs to be wanted and loved, even in the 'forbidden world' of same sex attraction) from reality to surreality.
Metaphors abound: the hero works in garbage disposal on the night shift
a stance that sums up his world's view of his persona. Apparently the
actor Ricardo Meneses was selected for the lead simply on the basis of his presence and his animal appeal.
This is a rich performance of a boy with an approach/avoidance to his sexuality and Meneses is unafraid to bear it all in his portrayal of passion on the edge. The drive for sexual gratification is dark, sensuous, and bordering on dangerous. His eventual transformation as a 'comic book-like' predator seems natural in the way both director and actor drive this story to its inevitable ending.
The film is VERY dark photographically and while this technique matches the message (this is a story about life in the night), it is difficult at times to visualize the action. The noisy musical scoring becomes almost unbearable at times. But despite these reservations O FANTASMA suggests the debut of a remarkable directorial talent and certainly gives heed to a major screen presence in Ricardo Meneses! Not for everyone, but for those with an eye for something original then try this little film. In Portuguese with subtitles
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