‘O Fantasma’

A graphic, sexually explicit queer surrealism, director João Pedro Rodrigues (The Ornithologist, To Die Like a Man) explores nocturnal and sexual escapades as a young and handsome Sergio, a nightshift garbage collector, roams an almost deserted Lisbon.

With more than a passing nod to Kenneth Anger and Jean Genet, Rodrigues allows an extraodinary Sergio (Ricardo Meneses) to slowly slip into a psychosexual eroticism as he obsesses over the owner of a top-of-the-range motorbike. From leather and uniform fixation, zentai latex, casual sex in public places, O Fantasma is a relentless exploration of extreme aspects of male homosexual erotica. Sergio, with his sense of alienation from the immediacy of his public persona, is a figure full of desire, with a level of underlying rage and despair driving that desire.

It’s not always easy to watch as Sergio descends further into a hybrid predator/survivor. Yet, tension builds as the beautiful visual language of emptiness – both urban and metaphorical – propels the narrative into the unknown and unexpected.

Rating: 54%

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