Feed on Posts or Comments 14 December 2017

Movie Reviews newlight on 30 Jan 2007 07:08 am

Ghosts (2006)

Ghosts (2006)
Director: Nick Broomfield
Cast: Ai Qin Lin, Zhan Yu, Wei Zhe

Ghosts (2006) by Nick BroomfieldI saw the poster of Nick Broomfield’s Ghosts in Edinburgh’s Filmhouse cinema some time ago. There have been more press coverage when it released recently, but I wasn’t sure I could bring myself to watch this film. In the evening of 5th February 2004, I was travelling on a train from Manchester to Edinburgh along the west coast line. As in early February, it was dark outside. When I arrived home I heard the news about the missing Chinese cockle-pickers in Morecambe Bay. The next day it was clear 23 Chinese illegal immigrants were found dead or missing there. Looking at the map, I suddenly realised that on that cold February night, when my train was travelling in Lancashire countryside, I was not too far away from my fellow country men and women who were about to be swallowed by the rising tide.

I finally watched Ghosts. To my surprise there were quite a few people coming to watch this film that for sure won’t give the viewer any pleasure. Although I’m fairly aware of the conditions Chinese illegal migrants live and exploitation they suffer from various news reports, this film still hit me hard, thanks to Broomfield’s matter of fact, non-judgemental way of telling the story, and Ai Qin Lin’s performance as the female lead, who herself was an illegal migrant from Fujian province.

Ghosts is simply a replay of the tragic event. What Ghosts does, is to provide the backstory of the lives that perished that night. The plot loosely follows the journey of Ai Qin, from a village of Fujian to Norfolk, from paddy field to meat processing plants and apply farm, which ends up on the beach of Morecameby Bay. The scene that best illustrates the contrast between the dreams of those illegal migrants have and bleaking reality they face is when Ai Qin and other cockle-pickers arrive at Morecameby Bay, they are attracted to a beautiful rainbow that ‘welcomes us’.

An interesting aspect of the film is its use of music. Chinese pop songs are constantly sung by the characters or played in the background. The songs become the only way they can remind themself the ‘bright future’ they are supposedly to have and their family connection back home. My only objection is the use Zhou Xuan’s Hua Yang de Nian Hua played when Ai Qin and other migrants cross the border of Eastern European countries in the fog of dawn. This is cerntainly not their song.

I wish the film could tell us more about why Ai Qin and others continue to risk their life to come to work illegally in the UK. Ai Qin, like other others, is not naive enough to believe that money is easy to earn in the UK. They are vaguely aware of the risk and suffering they may face. But they still come. I wish the film could dig deep into the different personal circumstances, and perhaps the social pressure to earn cash quickly abroad and acceptance of the risk. Although the only person in the film involved in organising illegal immigration is not portrated simply as a villain, there is nothing more about why and how this is widely spreaded in some parts of China.

Illegal migrants are at the bottom of UK’s economic chain, ruthlessly exploitated by the economic machine. At the end of the film, subtitles inform us although a few people have been convicted, the victims’ families are still in debt. And the news I have heard is that migrant cockle-pickers are back at Morecambe Bay. Only this time they are Polish.

Ghosts: official site

The Morecambe Victim Fund

12 Responses to “Ghosts (2006)”

  1. on 30 Jan 2007 at 07:29 1.Chinese Movie Database Blog » Blog Archive » Ghosts (2006) said …

    [...] This review appeared first on WaterInk. [...]

  2. on 10 Mar 2007 at 12:03 2.Lee Jie said …

    I wish The Morecambe Victim Fund is ”genuinely” to help those chinese victims ! how many family have helped so far ?

  3. on 17 Apr 2007 at 11:23 3.LinkChinese UK News » Ghost (2006) said …

    [...] article first appeared on Water Ink [...]

  4. on 13 May 2007 at 19:59 4.Water Ink » A Chinese week: Chinese in Britain and Getting Rich First said …

    [...] Anna Chen didn’t mention whether there will be a second series of Chinese in Britian. Surely there are lots of stories to tell about the new generations of Chinese? The influx of immigrants from Hong Kong during 80s and Chinese students in the last 10 years must have changed the composition of the UK Chinese community. What about the second and third generation of British Chinese? And what about those illegal immigrants who are truely at the bottom of the society, whose living conditions are painly depicted in Nick Broomfield’s Ghosts (2006)? [...]

  5. on 14 May 2007 at 19:17 5.LinkChinese UK News » A Chinese week on Radio 4: Chinese in Britain and Getting Rich First said …

    [...] Anna Chen didn’t mention whether there will be a second series of Chinese in Britian. Surely there are lots of stories to tell about the new generations of Chinese? The influx of immigrants from Hong Kong during 80s and Chinese students in the last 10 years must have changed the composition and mentality of the UK Chinese community. What about the second and third generation of British Chinese? And what about those illegal immigrants who are truely at the bottom of the society, whose living conditions are painly depicted in Nick Broomfield’s Ghosts (2006)? [...]

  6. on 03 Feb 2008 at 19:00 6.桃花坞 » Pan’s Labyrinth 获得 BBC Four World Cinema Award 2008 said …

    [...] Nick Broomsfield,早年以纪录片闻名,现在拍剧情片,包括 06 年的Ghost;演员 Archie Panjabi;演员 Christopher Eccleston)从5部候选影片中选择了 Pan’s [...]

  7. on 13 May 2011 at 14:09 7.Raven Sirko said …

    One thing I’d really like to touch upon is that weightloss system fast may be accomplished by the perfect diet and exercise. Your size not merely affects appearance, but also the quality of life. Self-esteem, depressive disorders, health risks, and also physical capabilities are affected in an increase in weight. It is possible to do everything right but still gain. Should this happen, a problem may be the primary cause. While excessive food but not enough exercise are usually to blame, common health conditions and trusted prescriptions can greatly enhance size. I am grateful for your post in this article gywl512.

  8. on 10 Apr 2013 at 04:43 8.Unfareserelve said …

    order propeciageneric propecia , http://ordergenericpropecianow.com/#uqvoh order propecia

  9. on 22 Sep 2013 at 09:59 9.レディース ブランド 財布 said …

    シャネル 指輪 リボン レディース ブランド 財布 http://www.gouwu201.com/

  10. on 13 May 2014 at 07:46 10.Johnd183 said …

    Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a marvellous job! fabdcffggdck

  11. on 03 Mar 2015 at 04:52 11.dinero urgente said …

    There is certainly a great deal to know about this
    topic. I really like all of the points you have
    made.
    dinero urgente

  12. on 06 Oct 2017 at 12:17 12.FirstFlorine said …

    I see you don’t monetize your site, don’t waste your traffic, you can earn extra bucks every month because
    you’ve got hi quality content. If you want to know how to make extra money, search for:
    Mrdalekjd methods for $$$

Trackback This Post | Subscribe to the comments through RSS Feed

Leave a Reply