ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS
94 min, 2018, dir. Gabrielle Brady
Gabrielle Brady's stunning Island of the Hungry Ghosts, winner of the Best Documentary Award at Tribeca 2018, is that rare documentary that not only offers outstanding artistic merit but also timely topical appeal, as it deals artfully with issues of borders, refugee detention, and trauma within a sensory-rich, bustling and lush yet vulnerable natural world.
Set on Christmas Island, this visceral, highly cinematic work zooms in on two singular, intersecting aspects of its location: the massive migration of crabs across the land, and a high-security Australian detention center for asylum seekers, where a trauma therapist tries to bring compassion and understanding to lives trapped in a painful limbo.
The Los Angeles Times called Island of the Hungry Ghosts "a gorgeous, deeply moving, and at times surreal movie," The Guardian praised it as "a fierce, valuable, compassionate film," and acclaimed filmmaker Sean Baker (Tangerine, The Florida Project) singled it out as "a moving and intimate look at those seeking asylum with a visually rich and lyrical aesthetic that sets this film apart. Truly one of the best documentaries of the year." It's with great pride that Sentient.Art.Film brings Gabrielle Brady's singular film to the big screen in select theaters across North America. (Eric Allen Hatch)