Ghosts is a 2006 British drama film directed by Nick Broomfield, and written by Nick Broomfield and Jez Lewis. It stars Zhan Yu as Mr. Lin, Tao Li as Chinese Cockle-Picker, and Ai Qin Lin as Ai Qin.
Ai Qin is an illegal Chinese immigrant who came to the UK. She hails from Fuzhou, China, where the only work there is badly paid agricultural labour, and that is very hard to come by. She has a son, but she is a single mother whose husband left her for another woman. She knows that it is very risky to immigrate to another country, but she is desperate to provide for her family. In fact, she is so desperate that she turns to a snakehead gang to smuggle her to Europe for a deposit of $5,000, and the obligation to pay off the loan of another $20,000. She gets a job in a meat-packing factory in the UK. She finds out that the UK's food industry depends on underpaid, exploited migrant labour. The profitable alternative is "massage" (i.e. sex work), but she doesn't want to turn to that. She has to depend on a gangmaster who is not really in a good position of power, and he has to bribe richer contractors just to get poorly paid work. Things get so bad that the group Ai Qin is in desperately turn to cockle-picking at Morecambe Bay. This film is a recreation of the 2004 Morecambe Bay cockling disaster, so it's not hard to guess what happened.
Should not be confused with the play Ghosts. Should not be confused with The Protector episode "Ghosts", the Psych episode "Ghosts", the Revolution episode "Ghosts", and the Hidden Palms episode "Ghosts". Should not be confused with the DC Comics series Ghosts. Should not be confused with the board game Ghosts. Should not be confused with the books Ghosts (1990) and Ghosts (1993). Should not be confused with the film Ghosts (2005).
This film provides examples of:
- Double-Meaning Title: Ghosts in the context of this film can refer to the Cantonese slang term "gweilo" (鬼佬), which literally translates to "ghost man" and refers to white people. It can also refer to the invisibility of poorly paid, unprotected non-British workers who work in slave conditions in the food industry.
- Ripped from the Headlines: This film is a recreation of the Morecambe Bay cockling disaster of 2004.
- Unusual Euphemism: "Massage" is apparently used to mean "sex work".