Coming to theatres today, Friday, March 8:
ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS
Visions du Reel 2018
Tribeca, Docaviv, Edinburgh, Guanajuato, New Zealand, Melbourne, Dokufest, Camden, Reykjavik, Adelaide, Athens, Goteborg, DocPoint, ZagrebDox, RIDM, DOK Leipzig, New Zealand, Tallin Black Nights, Docs Against Gravity
An impressionistic portrait of migration and limbo on Australia’s Christmas Island.
Christmas Island is a remote Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, and, as legend has it, is haunted by the titular spirits of the Chinese laborers who were brought there over a century ago to work its phosphate mines. But in Brady’s metaphor-heavy meditation, other, living ghosts now find themselves trapped on the island: asylum seekers. Unlike Christmas Island’s cast of red crabs making their dangerous migratory journey to the ocean, helped to safely cross roadways by conscientious residents, these human migrants are instead confined to a detention center for indefinite periods of time. Help comes in the form of trauma counselor Poh Lin Lee, whose sessions with her detainee are threaded through this project, but Lee herself is growing more and more demoralized by the limbo her patients are forced to endure. Brady doesn’t always successfully integrate the various threads here, preferencing atmosphere and immersion over clarity and engagement at times, but she nevertheless has crafted a thoughtful look at the ongoing crisis of migration in a distinctive way.