The Phantom Father (EUFF) | Movie Release, Showtimes & Trailer | Cinema Online
Movie Details

The Phantom Father (EUFF)

The film tells about American Professor Robert Traum, who takes sabbatical, to travel to the Bukovina province of Romania to discover more about his lineage. He is aided by local archivist Tanya to track down Sami Grinberg, a good friend of his father as well as the only man alive who can tell him more about his family. Along the way, he falls in love, discovers his ancestors were not poor, and finally meets Sami who now travels the countryside screening old films from his RV.

Language: Romanian
Subtitle: English
Classification: 18
Release Date: 7 Nov 2013
Genre: Drama / Romance
Running Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Distributor: Film Festival Organizer
Cast: Marcel Lures, Barry Gifford, Mihaela Sirbu, Valer Delakeza
Director: Lucian Georgescu
Format: 2D

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Review
Writer: Kartikha Govinda Rajoo

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Watch this if you liked: “Head-On” and “Gruber’s Journey”.

The Phantom Father is about a middle-aged American professor, Robert Traum (Marcel lures) who takes a sabbatical to visit Romania and learn more about his family's past. He journeys through Bukovina with a local archivist, Tania (Mihaela Sirbu) in search of Sammi (Valer Delakeza), an old family friend. Sammi, a projectionist, used to be the proprietor of an old cinema in the old Bukovina town and was kicked out by the greedy mayor. In the process of learning about his family history, Robert and Sammi also scheme to get the old cinema back.

The movie starts out promising but soon reveals itself to be confused and disjointed. What starting out as a slow tale of man travelling to the 'old country' on a journey of self-discovery, switches gears halfway to an odd dark comedy that tries to be quirky. The director attempts to tell the story by zooming in on different parts of the timeline so the viewer can put it all together in the end. It's a technique that, if well executed, could be a powerful story telling tool. Unfortunately, in the case of this movie it is choppy and doesn't do much for the plot.

Marcel Iures ("Gruber's Journey", "Red Gloves") is disappointingly dull and disengaged in this movie. His love affair with Tania lacks romance or believability. lures and Sirbu's characters are a stark contrast against the other comical and quirky characters such as the mayor and Sammi. This contributes to the disjoint in the movie. It almost seems like two very different movies in one.

The movie is mostly set in the ghost town of Bukovina which the mayor is threatening to clear off to build a shopping mall. What remains of the town is hauntingly beautiful, particularly the old cinema and the bathhouse. Unfortunately, it is not enough to make up for the dullness of the movie. There is nothing particularly enlightening or interesting about the movie. But in all fairness, worse movies have been made about Eastern Europe.


Cinema Online, 18 November 2013
   
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Classification
U - General viewing for all ages
P13 - Parental guidance is advisable for children below 13 years old
18 - For 18+ with elements for mature audiences
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