IFFR Review: Phantom Project

DIRECTED BY

Roberto Doveris

STARRING

Juan Cano, Ingrid Isensee, Violeta Castillo, Fernanda Toledo, Fernando Castillo, Yasmín Ludueñas, Ernesto Meléndez, Natalia Grez, Claudio González R., Rocío Monasterio, Marco Carmona and Cristóbal Venegas

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SYNOPSIS

Aspiring film actor Pablo’s life is turned upside down when his housemate leaves him with rent arrears, a collection of plants, a dog, a woolly jumper…and a house ghost.

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Proyecto Fantasma, aka Phantom Project, is written and directed by Roberto Doveris. Set in Chile we primarily follow Pablo, a young gay actor who dreams of one day landing a role in a film, but currently he works as a training actor in a patient-care programme at a medical faculty whilst also being a paid participant in group therapy sessions. Pablo’s dreams are soon put on hold when his housemate leaves, leaving behind a couple of months rent owed, a collection of plants, a dog named Susan, a woolly jumper and, supposedly a house ghost.

Set in the commune are of Ñuñoa, in the province of Santiago, Doveris takes us down the road of life in the district, and the social structures that exist there. We examine these structures through following Pablo, as he tries to restructure his life as his housemate leaves, and still attempt to chase his dreams of being an actor. While Doveris injects a lot of ideas, and some of the animation style is interesting in execution, the overall film didn’t quite work for me. There are plenty of threads within the films duration, like Pablo looking for a new housemate, will he get one? Will he win back his ex-boyfriend? What’s going on with his neighbour downstairs? Whose the girl he meets again at the acting class? Will he get his career goal? What’s with the house ghost?

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I didn’t feel like these sub-plots gelled well during the film and by its conclusion I don’t really think they came together in the end .There’s a particular stubbornness to Pablo, as he will complain about how he might have to move back in with his parents, and when one of his friends offers work to act at the holistic centre, he turns his nose up at it, telling them that he wants to do something more meaningful…like act in a film. The film though is well directed by Doveris, with some lovely cinematography work by Patricio Alfaro, really good animation work by Erika Pacheco (the style used for the ghost is simple, yet effective) and Juan Cano gives a good performance as Pablo.

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VERDICT

While Phantom Project has many threads going on throughout its runtime, ultimately it doesn’t feel like it all gels together.

★★