O Fantasma | Chicago Reader

O Fantasma

Eerie and perversely engrossing, this 2000 feature by Portuguese filmmaker Joao Pedro Rodrigues centers on a young garbage collector in Lisbon (Ricardo Meneses) who stalks a biker he desires but finds release only in anonymous rough sex. Like the brooding blue-collar hustlers of Jean Genet and Kenneth Anger, he's a lonely narcissist looking for his other; Rodrigues also presents him, less convincingly, as an outcast who cleans up other people's messes but can't sort out his own impulses, a pitiable figure warped by social norms. Some of the plot twists don't make sense, yet Meneses delivers an obsessive, animalistic performance, and Rui Pocas's sharply shaded night cinematography turns the city's street corners into dark pockets of desire. In Portuguese with subtitles. 90 min.


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