In 1921, England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the 'missing' begin to show themselves.
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In 1921, in London, the arrogant and skeptical Florence Cathcart is famous for exposing hoaxes and helping the police to arrest con artists. The stranger Robert Mallory tells her that the headmaster of a boarding school in Rookford had invited her to travel to Cumbria to investigate a ghost that is frightening the pupils to death. He also tells that many years ago there was a murder in the estate and recently pupil Walter Portman had died. The reluctant Florence finally accepts to go to Cumbria. On arrival, she is welcomed by governess Maud and the boy Thomas Hill. Soon Florence discovers what had happened to Walter and then the students, teachers and staff are released on vacation, and Florence remains alone with Robert, Maud and Tom in the school. Florence is ready to leave the boarding school when strange things happen, leaving Florence scared. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
(at around 20 mins) When Miss Cathcart is investigating the classroom where many of the ghost sightings occurred, for a brief moment on the chalkboard behind her there is a quotation that says: "They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old." This is a line from the poem "For the Fallen" by British poet Laurence Binyon. Published in 1914, it was meant as an ode to the British soldiers dying in the First World War. This hints, among other things, at connections to the boys who were shown earlier in the film in the school photos, many of whom presumably died during the War. See more »
When Florence is sitting in the kitchen talking to the boy, the blanket she is wrapped in moves up and down between shots. See more »
Ghost debunking author, spiritual hoax nemesis and early benefactor of the suffragette movement, Florence, is invited to a boys boarding school where the children are terrorised by a phantom child and the teachers by the aftermath of WW1. She is to debunk the ghost story and return the school to business as usual.
A rational explanation quickly reveals itself, through the simple application of Holmesian deduction, a chemistry, set and some bells on strings. However, haunted by her personal sense of guilt and loss, Florence finds the rational solution unsatisfactory and searches instead for an antidote to her own suffering.
Haunting cinematography, a strong cast and a story line which supports both suspense and character depth, enable this film to stand alongside "the orphanage" and "the Others" rather than being shadowed by them.
Winner of the Jury Prize at the Gerardmer Film Festival in France.
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