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Foreign Ghosts (1998)

A trilogy of interrelated stories about three young immigrant women in Montreal. May Li's mother arrives from China to live with her with preconceived ideas about all non-Chinese people.




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Credited cast:
Vaggos Evyenia ...
(as Evyenia)
Camille Martinez ...
Waei Pai ...
Mrs. Li
Pepe (as Carlo Alacchi)
Robert van der Linden ...
Jack Stone
Walter Bryant ...
Nancy Snytar ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kapil Bawa ...
Frank Cavallero ...
Mr. Esposito
Hunt Hoe ...
Wing Lee ...
French Student
Franca Martrino ...
Sarah Lee
Caroline Mireault ...
Martin Payette ...
Taxi Driver


A trilogy of interrelated stories about three young immigrant women in Montreal. May Li's mother arrives from China to live with her with preconceived ideas about all non-Chinese people.

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Release Date:

27 March 1998 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

Fantômes étrangers  »

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Referenced in Who Is Albert Woo? (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Inspired Camera-work In Strong Support Of A Film That Reflects Higher Than Normal Aspirations Of Its Production Team.
29 August 2009 | by (Mountain Mesa, California) – See all my reviews

Shot entirely in the Montreal region, and with a young Malaysian/Canadian, Hunt Hoe, at the helm, this work is fragmented into three separate stories, some characters from each having small roles in the others. The first (untitled) episode is filmed in black and white with this method usurped by colour for the remaining pair. The initial segment relates of incidents in the life of May Li (Bonnie Mak), an employment counselor whose recently widowed mother (Waei Pai), a Chinese citizen who will be living with her daughter, believes that all non-Chinese are "ghosts", this negative attitude clearly becoming troublous for May Li and also for her French Canadian boyfriend, whose attempts to please the older lady are rebuffed, causing a reduction in mutual warmth for the young couple, until a possible solution emerges following contact with another non-Chinese immigrant who has given assistance to May Li's mother during a violent snowstorm. The second piece: "The Ballad of Anna and Pepe", tells of an emigrant from Greece, Anna (Evyenia), who expends a great deal of energy (partially expressed through voice-over) trumpeting her concepts of freedom from the needs of men, although a co-worker, accountant Pepe (Carlo Alacchi), has some hope of altering her beliefs, his efforts to do so making up the main portion of the film's storyline. The final portion of this small anthology, "Waitress in a Doughnut Shop", is the lengthiest, with its subject being a young woman from the Dominican Republic, Tanya (Camille Martinez), and her association with three regular clients of the café that employs her. This is the most serious in mood of the trio of tales, director Hoe framing the action around a theme mixture that is known for bedevilling contemporary society. Parts are assigned to locally (Montreal) based performers, and although some of the acting is rather flat, and some overplayed, the cultural reciprocity that is at the heart of the work is apparent throughout, with Hoe's motifs offering a universal quality that will make the film readily accessible to most viewers. The final component of the production, "Waitress...", is the most ambitious of the three and, probably as a result, the most blemished, its intricate scenario serving to point up the emotive shortcomings of its lead, Martinez. Turning the coin, Montreal in winter is ever on cue, and the proficient cinematographer Daniel Villeneuve creates diverting compositions. Versatile Hoe, for only his second feature, earns credits for writing, directing, producing, acting, composing - he even plays guitar during one scene! The film received thumbs up at a number of festivals, despite its trilogy that deals with plights of female immigrants into Canada being, for the most part, constructed of formula tinged melodrama.

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