ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS

Dir. Gabrielle Brady, Chromosom Film Production, WDR, 94 min, 2018, Germany / UK / Australia / USA

Australia’s Christmas Island’s original inhabitants are the forty million land crabs that travel in masse from the island’s jungle to its coastline once a year. The first humans only migrated here less than a century ago, and local islanders still perform special rituals to help their wandering souls find peace. Poh Lin is a trauma counsellor who also lives on the island. She works with the asylum seekers who are being held in great secrecy in a remote detention facility. A striking, visually impressive film that stands out due to the empathy shown towards the portrayed individuals.

Australia’s refugee policy calls for asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat to be detained and held in remote territories – such as Christmas Island and other offshore processing facilities thousands of kilometres away in Pacific Ocean nation-states – before being sent back home. The largest number of asylum seekers in the Christmas Island facility was almost 3,000, while the registered local population is 1,843, according to the latest data.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 / 21.00

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 / 15.00