Island of the Hungry Ghosts

Woman stares out over the sea

Still from Island of the Hungry Ghosts, Gabrielle Brady, 2018

Located off the coast of Indonesia, the Australian territory of Christmas Island is famous for the millions of red crabs who travel from the jungle towards the ocean, a migration triggered by the full moon. The island also houses a high-security detention facility, in which those seeking asylum in Australia are detained indefinitely.

Poh Lin is a trauma counsellor who lives with her young family on the island and whose job is to offer detainees advice and support. Meanwhile local islanders carry out their ‘hungry ghost’ rituals for the spirits of those who died on the island without a proper burial.

This acclaimed feature debut by Gabrielle Brady has won a host of awards including Best Documentary at Tribeca Film Festival. It is a quietly powerful and compelling, highly cinematic exploration of attitudes to migrants and those that seek asylum.

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