Thursday, November 25, 2010

Portugal : O Fantasma (The Phantom) (2000)

Is this the first Portugal's gay-themed film?

João Pedro Rodrigues directed one of the most intriguing  gay-themed films of all time - O Fantasma. It was so, for several reasons. It won a few awards. It introduced to us Ricardo Meneses, in his only appearance in a film. It should be the first gay-themed film (or perhaps  arguably, just like Brokeback Mountain, a bi-film) from Portugal. The film has explicit contents. And it has an ending that kept many puzzled, and frustrated.

Sergio worked as a garbage collector in the city. It might looked like any other ordinary life of a young man in the city, except that Sergio had a strong sex appetite. He roamed around looking for means to end his quest, and some of his conquests were not for the faint of heart. Fatima had shown interest in him, but Sergio was more obsessed with a young man whom he had met once, when he picked up the trash from the man's garage. Since then, Sergio stalked the young man.

Ricardo Meneses did for this film what Steve Sandvoss and Wes Ramsey did for Latter Days (2003). Charming and gorgeous enough to attract the attention of movie and hunk lovers to sit through the film. Story-wise, the director did justice to this film.. from the beginning to the middle. At the end, I was personally frustrated with the choice of the direction the movie had taken. It was not a twist like in some suspense show, but more like a chicken-out attempt.  I personally felt the director did not dare to end the movie the way audience would have been curious about, but to make the actor acting psycho at the wasteland. Was it an attempt to trash at gays, making it looked like that would be how gays would and should end up being? Nuts? Although this film did include Sergio's involvement with a woman, the film was focusing more on Sergio's romp with the other men, which was how I could easily conclude this film as a gay-themed and not bi-themed. 

Won -

  • Entrevues Film Festival (2000) - Grand Prix Foreign Film.
  • New York Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (2001) - Best Feature

Nominated -

  • Venice Film Festival (2000) - Golden Lion
  • Golden Globes, Portugal (2001)- Best Actor

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