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Phantom Love (2007)

 -  Drama  -  19 January 2007 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 119 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 6 critic

A surreal drama about an alienated family set in Koreatown, Los Angeles and Rishikesh, India.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Allison Bell ...
Young Lulu
Lena Bubenechik ...
Young Mother
...
Newscaster (voice)
Sherie Hall ...
Roulette Dealer #1
Wesley Katzir ...
Man in Car
Jackson Lee ...
Roulette Man
...
Fairy Princess
...
Nitzan
...
The Lover
...
TV Preacher
...
Bartender
Faina Rabinovich ...
Young Nitzan
Marina Shoif ...
Lulu
Tom Siviglia ...
Police Officer
...
Young Father
Edit

Storyline

A surreal drama about an alienated family set in Koreatown, Los Angeles and Rishikesh, India.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

19 January 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amor Fantasma  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Menkes' "Phantom Love"
8 October 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Andrei Tarkovsky tells us that a teacher wrote the following about his film Mirror (1974):

"The film itself lifts the spell of silence and enables one to free one's spirit from the anxieties and trivia that weigh us down…showing the true, instead of the false, values of the world; making every object play a part; making every detail of the picture into a symbol; building up to a philosophical statement through an extraordinary economy of means; filling every frame with poetry and music." (p. 11, Sculpting in Time)

Thirty-three years later, this also describes the power of Nina Menkes' new feature, Phantom Love. Combining the real and surreal in daring ways, the film blurs the distinctions between the two to tell the story of an alienated woman's inner, spiritual awakening. Structured to reflect the main character, Lulu's internal conflicts, one experiences Phantom Love the way one experiences life—going in and out of dreams and nightmares to assemble one's own reality.

The film merges human and animal worlds in with great focus and heart, mesmerizing us by a dream about a swimming Octopus, and imprinting in our memories other wise creatures like a clairvoyant Cat, mysterious Snake, swarm of Bees, magical Horses, and fragile Moth clinging to a lampshade. The black and white style symbolizes the transcendental approach of the film—primal, stripped to the bone, and made bare to take us deeper into Lulu's story with light, shadow, and grain. Synthesizing documentary shooting with dream-like, fairytale imagery, Menkes roams through the psychic closets of her characters, and in the process asks us to do the same for ourselves. Phantom Love is pure cinema, reminiscent of the transformative films of Bergman, Antonioni, Cocteau, and Tarkovksy.

Tapping into the metronome of Lulu's everyday encounters, Phantom Love plunges into its heroine's subconscious to expose the narratives that strangle and trap her—narratives that concern the destructive aspects of Lulu's relationship with her mother and sister, which consequently affect her ability to love and be loved. Few filmmakers have depicted mother/ daughter and sister/sister dynamics with such depth. Nina Menkes artfully presents these relationships as intense ties, which are difficult to cut, impossible to erase, ridden with guilt, and are an endless cycle of resembling reflections. These internal struggles confront and relate to the images of war and destruction on Lulu's television. The distance between Lulu and her TV begins to disappear as the film progresses, eventually culminating in a levitation sequence where Lulu's body explodes, much like the bombs she sees devastating the Middle East. She floats above her bed then looks right at us through the film screen—asking us, if we too feel the same way. Directly following this chilling, but totally courageous moment, Lulu's own nightmares are mirrored in the TV, with the image of a little girl running for her life in a vacant battleground.

Phantom Love moves through darkness to find a light so strong it consumes the last frame of the film—we see visions of serenity, fluidity, and strength as Lulu begins her journey to a new, renewing place on the other side of a mystical bridge.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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