Director: Nick Broomfield
Cast: Ai Qin Lin, Zhe Wei
The official website
Based on the incident at Morecambe Bay on the 5th February 2004, the film relates the plight and life of an illegal immigrant, Ai Qin, in UK ...
-- I have always felt that such docudrama is difficult to comment on. Given the gravity and the reality of the story, one would often be emotionally drawn by virtue of its topic. So, I would rather leave it for you to watch.
-- For people who like the film, I could attribute it to its realism, acted by non professionals (and apparently some used to be illegal immigrants); their expressions come across as genuine.
The bulk of the film does not go to extreme to over dramatize or horrify (though the message is evident and clear) ... In fact, the bulk of the film depicts what life is like from day to day for the illegal immigrants, hopping from one odd job to another odd job ... there are times of difficulties, but there are times of entertainment ... there are times of despair, but there are times of hope ... By doing so, the film comes across as rather sincere ...
-- For people who do not like the film, it may because the director has a rather clear stand on how he feels about the subject ... some people might prefer if he had portrayed both sides of the stories ... also, to some extent, the bulk of the film can come across as rather mundane (i.e., what daily life is about) and hence, repetitive at times .. but those who like the film will consider this realistic and a way to build up the characterization/thoughts of the immigrants ...
-- As an ending note, there are many familiar Chinese songs which would help one reminisce about the good old past and people we used to know ...
Worth watching, by virtue of its topic. The starting and the ending is esp. gripping.
PS: The title "Ghosts" is most likely a translation of the Chinese title "Gui Lao". It is a slang used more often in the past when Chinese are less accustomed to seeing westerners/foreigners, and so refer to them as "ghosts" due to their pale complexion (cf. some countries refering to foreigners as "aliens").
Jiang Wen also uses the word "Ghosts" in his film "Gui Zi Lai Le" (Devils At The Doorstep) to refer to foreigners, but this time he refers to the Japanese.
There are two camps of thoughts.
(i) Some people feel that this term is perfectly NEUTRAL ... esp. used casually/intimately in the Cantonese language ... that is why they may even address their own wife (as Gui Po in Cantonese) or friends (as Gui Zi in Cantonese) etc ...
(ii) However, some people think it is slightly derogatory, used by people in the past to refer to "aliens" ... hence, people nowadays prefer to refrain from using this term when refering to foreigners ...
Also, just hazarding a wild guess (given that the film is by a British Director), he could have formulated the English title with an intended pun, maybe to refer to the way many people would regard "illegal immigrants", that is as ghosts ("transparent" and/or "non existent") ... sigh ... who also lives in harsh or "ghosts-like" conditions ... sigh