7.2/10
786
12 user 24 critic

Ghosts (2006)

A young Chinese girl is smuggled into the UK so she can support her son and family in China.

Director:

Nick Broomfield
Reviews
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Zhan Yu Zhan Yu ... Mr. Lin
Tao Li Tao Li ... Chinese Cockle-Picker
Ai Qin Lin Ai Qin Lin ... Ai Qin
Zhe Wei Zhe Wei ... Xiao Li
Yong Aing Zhai Yong Aing Zhai ... Zhai (as Wen Buo Zhai)
An Sheng Lin An Sheng Lin ... Baby Bebe
Kan Jin Chen Kan Jin Chen ... Ai Qin's Mother
Shiang Fa Lin Shiang Fa Lin ... Ai Qin's Father
Qin Rong Lin Qin Rong Lin ... Ai Qin's Brother
Ping Chen Ping Chen ... Snakehead in China / UK
Marc Hoeferlin Marc Hoeferlin ... People Smuggler in Calais
David Bryan ... People Smuggler in Calais (as Dave Bryan)
Jiannan Tian Jiannan Tian ... Smuggled Chinese Immigrant
Xiang Li ... Smuggled Chinese Immigrant
Shu Ping Wang Shu Ping Wang ... Snakehead in UK
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Storyline

A young girl, Ai Qin, pays $25,000 to be smuggled into the UK in order to support her family back in China. She is forced to live with eleven other Chinese in a small house in Thetford, Norfolk, working in factories and fields preparing food. The film was inspired by the Morecambe Bay tragedy of 2004, when a gang of Chinese cockle-pickers found themselves trapped tide coming in. Written by Michelet Carsrud

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Morecambe Bay, February 5th 2004, 23 lives, 23 souls

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

MySpace | Official site | See more »

Country:

UK

Language:

Mandarin | English

Release Date:

12 January 2007 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Fantasmas See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Had no scripted dialog. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Shooting 'Ghosts' (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Not a great film but a worthy one
15 June 2008 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

In February 2004, twenty three illegal Chinese immigrants drowned in Morecambe Bay. This film follows the journey of one immigrant, Ai Qin, who sets out from China to travel to England to make a lot of money to support her young son. The travel is expensive (£25,000) and the journey takes over six months, illegally grossing many borders by hiding in containers or secret compartments. When she arrives in London, Qin finds herself taken north where she joins a crowded squat of other Chinese people and, after purchasing fake papers, gets hard labour jobs with long hours and low wages.

I'll be honest and say that Ghosts sat on my HDD for around about eight months before I finally got to watching it – it just never felt like I was in the mood for it. Tonight I decided to watch it and in a way I still feel a bit like it was something I had to see rather than was glad that I saw. It is not a great film and I think it is worth me saying that out loud. A lot of the very positive reviews I have read have tended to focus on the importance of the topic, the scale of the problem or the human suffering involved. These are not things of Broomfield's creation nor things that the film should be credited for. In tackling these subjects I have no qualms acknowledging that the film is certainly "worthy" but this should not be mistaken for the film being brilliant.

That said, it is a good piece of work that does gain credit for highlighting the subject in a film. The making of is typically Broomfield and is a documentary style without formal script or professional actors. At times this does hurt the film because some scenes are clunky and more than a couple of performances are stiff and unnatural. Fortunately these do not badly affect the film in the main, in particular Ai Qin Lin is very convincing and touching in her turn, and many of the other main players are good. Broomfield doesn't help himself either because not only is the film slightly longer than it can bear, but he does labour his points heavily at times. In one scene we have a clumsy piece of dialogue where one characters asks where the vegetables they are illegally picking will be sent and "Asda, Sainburys, Tesco, supermarkets" is the reply. This is a crass and clumsy way to make a good point – and it does damage the point. Sadly there are several examples like that one, not least of which is the caption that declares the British Government has refused to help pay off the debts the families of the twenty-three still have, as if that is the crux of the problem.

Despite these issues the film is still quite good but, because of them, it is not as great as many would have you believe. However it is an important and worthy film and, for all its flaws I would still recommend you see it or the good it has in its making, message and topic.


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