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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why was this film not shown in mainstream cinemas?
This film did not get a full cinema release and the fact that it has not yet received the publicity it rightly deserves is an absolute crime. In the age of attention-grabbing sensationalised docu-cinema (Fahrenheit 911, Super Size Me, The Yes Men et al.) a film such as Ghosts, which tells the truth in such an objective and gripping way is a breath of fresh air...
Published on 20 May 2007 by Mr. AD CASHMORE

versus
0 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not that good really
I found this boring , I have seen a documentary on this terrible tragedy which had far more insight and impact than this film . I didn't learn anything from this , it didn't answer any questions . Why travel 6mths to get to England ? where were the English gang masters ? How did they end up on the beach ? who gave them the jobs ? who was supposed to be looking after them...
Published on 17 Aug 2007 by Mark Wharton


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why was this film not shown in mainstream cinemas?, 20 May 2007
By 
Mr. AD CASHMORE (Lincoln, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ghosts [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
This film did not get a full cinema release and the fact that it has not yet received the publicity it rightly deserves is an absolute crime. In the age of attention-grabbing sensationalised docu-cinema (Fahrenheit 911, Super Size Me, The Yes Men et al.) a film such as Ghosts, which tells the truth in such an objective and gripping way is a breath of fresh air.

Seasoned documentary-maker, Nick Broomfield manages to produce a piece of dramatic cinema which captures the essence of his documentaries, but involves the audience much more intimately with the subjects than has been possible in his previous work. From the use of a non-professional Chinese cast, through the purposely shaky camera work and even to the slightly poorly acted role of the English landlord whose property is crammed with 15 'illegals', this film just seems real.

Ghosts is very now and very timely, given the recent 200th anniversary of the abolition of the legal slave trade. It serves as a reminder that there are still millions of people throughout the world living under the control of money-lenders/gang-masters, below the radar of the general public and in the turned blind eye of their employers who get a plentiful supply of cheap labour.

Ghosts is extremely moving and most viewers will sympathise with the plight of the lead character, Ai Qin and indeed with the alleged 3 million illegal workers who are locked in to a life of hard labour in the UK's primary industries in order to pay debts which they may never clear and who may never see their homelands or families again. If anyone goes away from this film with anything but a desire to help them it will be a disappointment. At the very least I hope Ghosts will go someway to quell the increasing hostility towards immigrants in the UK; I hope that once people see the human story behind the politico-economic issue, they will think twice before criticising them.

The film's lack of publicity may be down Broomfield's lack of funding when compared to the aforementioned films which were all financed in the US. Another possibility may be that, even given the analogy with the popular docu-films, this is still in fact a dramatisation, meaning perhaps one of Broomfield's documentaries would have fared better in the current box office climate (even though this would have been impossible for this particular story).

All said, Ghosts is by far the best Nick Broomfield work I have seen and I get the feeling that it will be one of those films that increases in popularity over time purely due to word-of-mouth.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You might very well be scared of Ghosts, 1 May 2007
By 
possessed.by.a.lemon - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Ghosts [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
Ghosts is a shrewd name for this film, taking on various connotations as the film progresses, before eventually becoming an apt one, as you're left haunted by its events.

With his background in hard-hitting documentaries, it's no surprise that Nick Broomfield poses many uncomfortable questions and tackles similarly chunky issues which extend much farther than the core narrative with this superb film based on the deaths of the twenty-three Chinese cockle pickers at Morecambe Bay in 2004. The tragedy itself is almost of secondary concern, this is not an exploitation of that event, Broomfield instead chooses to focus on the events that placed the illegal immigrants in such a perilous position. It comes across as a film about modern-day Britain as much as anything.

The film's protagonist, Ai Qin Li, is a young impoverished Chinese mother hoping, like many, to make a better living in Britain, illegally. Broomfield holds no punches. While the film is seen from the perspective of the migrant workers, we are reminded how they unlawfully take jobs, often with the help of bungs and always with forged documents. While they are treated unpleasantly (at best) by British citizens in all respects, you can empathise with the local gang of cockle pickers who object to them threatening their livelihoods, even if it's impossible to approve of their brutish bullying. It is the violent attack in this particular scene that forces the Chinese to return to the deadly estuaries of Morecambe Bay after dark.

Broomfield doesn't paint a picture of black and white, right and wrong, but the name-checking of the major supermarkets alludes to the real villain, and the employment agencies who the workers sign up with are also portrayed as corrupt. For the most part it's perfectly judged by Broomfield, right up to the credits where he sends viewers on a guilt trip about how the British government has done nothing to pay off the heavy debts of the dead which their families are now burdened with. Leaving you wondering just why it is that Broomfield thinks it should. It's the kind of thing that might give Bono and Chris Martin bad ideas.

Overall for Broomfield the filmmaker, it's a major success, genuinely thought-provoking and memorable, and probably the best thing he's done to date by some distance. It's very much a dramatic piece but plays on his strengths as a documentary maker. On its own it would be an easy recommendion for your DVD collection, but the bonus Making Of documentary is also a valuable extra and the scene in which Broomfield and his crew are faced with a gang of hostile local cockle pickers while filming mirrors the events in the film.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Film, 20 Mar 2007
This review is from: Ghosts [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
Nick Broomfield turns his hand to fictive feature film-making brilliantly, narrativising this tale around the drowning of illegal Chinese immigrants whilst cockle-picking in Morecambe Bay back in 2004. The film is a powerful dramatisation that looks and feels almost more realistic than Broomfield's documentaries. Focusing in on the experiences of one woman (the excellent Ai Qin Lin) Ghosts tells a personal and moving story, drawing attention to incredibly important issues. Very affecting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Morecombe cockle pickers, 20 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Ghosts [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
Very moving story about the death of the Morecombe bay cockle pickers. Gives the other side of the story of how people are duped into becoming illegal immigrants
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Drama-Documentary about the Morecambe Bay tragedy, 18 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Ghosts [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
The Ghosts of the title are of course the dead Chinese migrant workers drowned in Morecambe Bay - but also those workers in the black economy exploited by profiteers in China and the UK - those who officially do not exist and those therefore whom officialdom cannot protect. A well made - naturalistic documentary - the more powerful because it is understated.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended - top quality film, 16 Sep 2009
This review is from: Ghosts [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
This DVD had been resting on my shelf for some months - I kept putting off viewing it because I feared it would be a depressing watch. On the contrary, I found it to be hugely involving and, at times, extremely funny. It is incredibly moving (you will have to have a pretty hard heart not to cry at some scenes) but the eye-opening and potentially 'worthy' message is communicated with a humanity that is motivating and positive rather than simply depressing.

Nick Broomfield tells the story with subtle skill. The illusion of documentary reality is almost perfect but this does not distance the viewer from the characters - we enter into their thoughts and feelings partly through the excellent and subtle use of music and partly from utterly convincing performances.
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4.0 out of 5 stars HEART WRENCHING AND THOUGHT PROVOKING, 1 Aug 2008
By 
SDB MELLONIE "DOM MELLONIE" (LANCASTER, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ghosts [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
On the night of Feb 25th 2004, 23 cockle-pickers lost their lives through drowning whilst out at night in Morecambe Bay. I lived at the time in a small, area, Hest Bank, about a mile away from where it happened. I was oblivious that night as to what was happening outside and was not prepared for the sight of opening the bedroom curtains the next morning to see the on-going search on the Bay whilst the full horror of what was happening was being relayed on my radio via Five Live. Horror and incredulity ensued and a community that had previously poured scorn on the "illegals" in the area began to realise what tragic victims of others' greed and greed these people had been.

Nick Broomfield's film/semi-documentary really does get across the helplessness of the people who were drowned that night but, beyond that tragic night, demonstrates the truly global impact of people trafficking as the film follows Ai Qin from her home in China, where the exploitation of her and many like her begins. She travels from home for 6 months to arrive in a totally alien and unforgiving England, where she realises that the riches she was offered in exchange for $25,000 to get her there just are not going to happen. The tragedy of Morecambe Bay takes up just a very small part of this film but the impending tragedy is punctuated with some great character development and also subtle humour demonstrated by some of the characters. Knowing what we know makes it all the harder for us as a viewer as we see Ai Qin forcing herself to believe that she will soon find the job that will make her all the money she was promised when she decided to leave her family and baby son to seek work in England.

It is a fascinating profile of one of the many affected by the events in Morecambe Bay but also asks bigger questions such as why such exploitation is tolerated in the 21st Century - from the fixers in China, through the sleezy individuals in various countries who facilitate the human trafficking, right through to the Retailers (we all know who they are!) in the UK who knowingly sell produce that has been farmed, harvested etc by people who are expoited in such awful ways - as are their families, who fear the visit of the money lenders who "finance" the journey to Engalnd and alike.

Fine "acting" by Ai Qin and the other principle protagonists. This is a film of true human tragedy that works on the individual/local level and global level. We should all feel very uncomfortable in our homes as we watch this film and Nick Broomfield should be applauded for the way he has created a film which provokes such feelings.

The real tragedy is that there are many thousands of people like Ai Qin being trafficked every day...and the cockle picking is back in business in Morecambe Bay. Despite claims to the contrary, it's still controlled by those wishing to exploit others.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As powerful as they come, 2 Jan 2008
This review is from: Ghosts [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
I watched the film last night thinking it was a 'GHOST' story. But as the film progressed I was not in the slightest disappointed when I discovered the films true content. I always felt the news did not give a thorough enough account of what happened that day in 2004 but this film answered any questions or queries I had. Any film lover should get this. It's chilling and funny in some places and gives a true insight of how illegal immigrants find there way to other countries. I hope this helps
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must see, 12 Nov 2007
By 
Stephen Newton (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ghosts [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
With Ghosts, Broomfield moves seamlessly from our leading documentary filmmaker to groundbreaking docu-dramatist. This is an uncomfortable film of British society's underbelly. Those we know are to die cockling in Morecombe Bay must first suffer the worst jobs and living conditions our cruellest and greediest gangsters can find them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ghosts : nick broomfield, 10 Oct 2007
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This review is from: Ghosts [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
i first saw this film on channel four and i thought it was absolutely fantastic.the music in the film was fantastic as well. i was over-joyed when i saw in dvds on amazon this very powerful and emotional film for sale.i had to get it.the chinese music in this film i just love. i hope there will be a soundtrack of the music from 'ghosts'.i will be buying it.thank you amazon.
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Ghosts [2006] [DVD]
Ghosts [2006] [DVD] by Nick Broomfield (DVD - 2007)
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