Off the southern coast of Indonesia lies Christmas Island, a stunningly beautiful Australian territory, and the natural migratory land for millions of crabs, which, during high season, overwhelm the landscape. The island is also home to a high-security detention facility that houses migrants—those not charged with crimes, but unable to leave in search of a better life. Trauma therapist Poh Lin Lee is the sole counselor at the facility, working with migrants to explore their histories and futures in this untenable situation. Meanwhile, native islanders perform rituals for those who have died in transit, evoking the “hungry ghosts” of the film’s title. Brady’s gorgeous, contemplative film, set against a harsh, unforgiving natural backdrop, asks us to consider migration in all its forms and to really see those at the heart of the global migration crisis who have mostly been hidden away and gone uncovered by the media.
Co-presented with Mercy Corps, who will lead a post-film discussion.
A fascinating metaphoric collision. — Scott Macaulay, Filmmaker Magazine
With profound spirituality... Island of the Hungry Ghosts is one of the year's most impressively made documentaries, a film that's as occasionally surreal as it is persistently moving. — Joshua Brunsting, Criterion Cast