- Ghosts (2006 film)
name = Ghosts
caption = DVD cover
producer = Nick Broomfield
writer = Nick Broomfield
Ai Qin Lin Zhe Wei
Harry Escott Molly Nyman
released = flagicon|Spain
21 September 2006
25 October 2006
runtime = 96 minutes
language = Mandarin,
Fuzhou dialect, English
website = http://www.ghoststhemovie.co.uk/
amg_id = 1:375208
imdb_id = 0872202
"Ghosts" (鬼佬) is a 2006
drama filmdirected by Nick Broomfield, based on the 2004 Morecambe Bay cockling disaster.
The film tells the story of Ai Qin, an illegal Chinese immigrant to the
UK. She is seen at home ( Fuzhou Changle), where there is no work except badly paid agricultural labour, and even this is in short supply. She has a son but no visible husband (this is explained later on). The family have some awareness of the dangers, and can keep in touch using mobile phones, but overall they have no control once Ai Qin puts herself in the hands of a "snakehead" gang who for a deposit of $5,000 (and the obligation to pay off the loan of another $20,000) will smuggle her to Europe.
The film follows her from
Chinato the UK where she gets a job in a food-packing factory. It reveals that the UK's food industryis heavily dependent on underpaid, exploited migrant labour. "Massage" (i.e. sex work) is offered as a profitable alternative, but she resists this. She finds herself dependent on a " gangmaster", who however is only one step up himself and needs to bribe richer contractors to get even badly paid work. His position and that of the group is deteriorating, and it is in some desperation that they turn to cockle-picking at Morecambe Bay.
The film begins and ends with scenes recreating the
2004 Morecambe Bay cockling disaster, in which 23 illegal workers lost their lives whilst cockle-picking.
Ai Qin Linas Ai Qin
Zhan Yuas Mr. Lin
Zhe Weias Xiao Li
Man Qin Weias Chiao
Yong Aing Zhai
* Shaun Gallagher as Robert
Basis in fact
2004 Morecambe Bay cockling disasterinvolved 38 individuals, of whom 23 drowned. The gangmaster got 14 years' imprisonment. His girlfriend was found guilty of immigration offences. The film shows a much smaller group, so it is not a literal retelling. But it is generally accepted as an accurate picture of the plight of Chinese illegal immigrants.
* [http://www.ghoststhemovie.co.uk/ Official site]
* [http://film.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/Critic_Review/Observer_review/0,,1989845,00.html Film review]
* [http://www.opendemocracy.net/arts-Film/ghosts_4036.jsp Review from openDemocracy.net]
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