The Phantom (1986)

The Phantom (1986)
aka: Widziadlo
Director: Marek Nowicki
Writer: Karol Irzykowski, Marek Nowicki
Country: Poland Runtime: 95 mins. Soundtrack: Krzysztof Knittel
Cast: Roman Wilhelmi, Marzena Trybala, Hanna Mikuc
Set in the early years of the century. A story of a country gentleman haunted by the memory of his first wife. His current wife, had enough of his obsession and has taken a lover, who is mysteriously paralyzed. Meanwhile, main character´s son gets his first taste of sensual experience with a mute peasant girl.
Set at the turn of the the century, Peter Strumienski lives in his rural manor home with his wife Ola and his children. He's a deeply unhappy man, haunted by his first wife Angelica, his obsession with her pushes his new wife into a sexual relationship with her own cousin Mariusz. Peter has dreams still of Angelica who tells him he'll never find satisfaction in any other woman. Its not that he doesn't try, knowing of Ola's affair he himself tries to seduce a visiting photographers wife, only he just can't do it. At this time his son whose back home on a break from boarding school, is skirting with his first sexual experiences, after he's become transfixed with a mute peasant girl who lives feral around the manor grounds. One night Peter catches her visiting his son, but instead of seeing the mute girl he see's his wife. Peter wanting to end his misery, shoots the poor girl. This sets about a cataclysmic final, with Peter now knowing there is no hope within his soul, to ever be free of Angelica.

Moody Polish fantasy melodrama, the story is pretty much a lurid family saga with a faint hint of horror flowing under the surface. Its highly atmospheric and very decadent. The visuals have a very brown Autumn tone, which is very fitting with the plot about losing something, and waiting for something else to grow in its place. The central performance from Roman Wilhelmi is perfect, really capturing a man whose living but not feeling anything. The ending has so much impact, Peter rides an horse to his graphic death. We learnt earlier in the film the horse once belonged to Angelica, she used to ride it naked during stormy nights, which the locals including a priest and friend to the family, enjoyed peeping at. I really loved it, even though it contains plenty of nudity, I'd guess it'd be a touch slow and depressing for some viewers tastes, best appreciated by fans of arthouse cinema.

Themes Included: Mute GirlIncest Head Smash
Naked Horse RideCreepy PicturePeeping Priest
Cultdb Totals
[Rated 8½ out of 10 Good]
[Deathcount 3]
[Gorequota 4/10]
[Boobquota 4/10]

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