Phantom Love, dir. Nina Menkes

About half an hour into this film, I became rather irritated by an emerging plot about the central character’s sister being perhaps mentally ill, suicidal and in need of looking after, and there therefore being some sort of family-based guilt being brought to bear on our female protagonist. You see, up to this point in the film, there hadn’t been any trace of any sort of plot. So far: a woman had been having rather unfulfilling sex with a man, a woman had been filing her nails, a woman had been watching the Gulf War on TV,  a woman had been working as a croupier at a roulette wheel, a woman had been walking past a large snake in the corridor of a hotel. All these things had rather pleased me, and I felt resentful at this sudden intrusion of a plot. Thankfully, it went away again.

There’s not much more I can say about this film. Nothing much happens in it; I’m not sure where it was set: sometimes, in the US, sometimes in a far-eastern country; I’m not sure really what occurs during the course of the film: a woman lives a somewhat boring everyday life and has some psychological troubles. I must just have been in the right mood, I guess. The comments on the imdb page are somewhat divided. Mubi has five films by her: I can’t wait to watch Queen of Diamonds, which has an average rating of 3.9 on imdb – a recommendation if ever there was one.

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7 thoughts on “Phantom Love, dir. Nina Menkes

  1. I like your Inverse Imdb Recommendation Scale. But isn’t it a relief that, thanks to that wonderful site, we can all agree that The Shawshank Redemption is the greatest movie ever made?

  2. I must watch The Shawshank Redemption again. Last time I watched it was before everyone agreed it was the greatest film ever, and it struck me at the time – like it did everyone, I believe – as entirely average.

  3. Yes, it’s well-made, well-acted, somewhat inspirational – like thousands of other films made in the last 20 years. Why has is assumed this inexplicable position of prominence? Now that’s a question for Messrs. Kermode and Gilbey.

    Reading more about Menkes, it appears this film is partially set in LA’s Koreatown.

  4. I suspect the Shawshank Redemption looks like one of those Sunday evening films they used to make with a plot that lasts a Sunday evening, a dash of liberalism and a twist in its tail.

    I think it’s the possibly the first film that pioneered that shot where the camera rises above the lead character with his arms outstretched and looks down on him as a way of showing freedom.

  5. I didn’t know LA had a Koreatown. It looks remarkable like some part of Asia then – down to the buildings and, somehow, even the river.

    I shall now look out for the arms outstretched showing freedom in earlier films. I’m sure Eisenstein must have used it (perhaps to represent seven different things at different points in the film).

  6. Having written that I think Gene Kelly in the Singing in the Rain routine may well be the winner.

    But it certainly became a cliche after Shawshank to the extent that it pops up knowingly in Seinfeld ( and possibly the Simpsons too ).

  7. I had the chance to buy The Shawshank Redemption today in the charity shop, but bought instead The Departed, Kick-ass, Hidden and the remake of Solaris. It’s strange that I didn’t think to buy the greatest film of all time.

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