Phantom Love

Director: Nina Menkes
Screenwriters: Nina Menkes

Institute History

  • 2007 Sundance Film Festival


A surreal drama about a woman trapped in an enmeshed family and her slow process of personal liberation, Phantom Love incorporates fairy-tale elements into brutal black-and-white photography to create a powerful document about one woman's descent into self.

Lulu (the captivating Marina Shoif) spends most of her life working in a casino in Los Angeles's Koreatown. Her much younger lover, with whom she feels no emotional connection, and her sister Nitzan (Juliette Marquis), who is on meds and in the middle of a breakdown, share the rest of her time. Lulu's visiting mother offers unwanted help, but she only complicates things.

Phantom Love is full of Nina Menkes's trademark surreal atmospheres. Intricate faces, shadows, and exotic animals come together, accompanied by the carefully constructed, subtle soundtrack. Menkes explores Lulu's journey from the inside out, through violence and relationships, resulting in a mysterious family chronicle.

— Mike Plante

Screening Details


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