DIFF Opening Night - Island of the Hungry Ghosts

This is a Darwin International Film Festival screening. DIFF occurs 13-23 September, with screenings all over Darwin. More info: diff.net.au

This screening presented by Opening Night Guest of Honour Alex Kelly (producer, Island of the Hungry Ghosts). Live music by Darwin World Mix Band.

Located off the coast of Indonesia, the Australian territory of Christmas Island is inhabited by migratory crabs travelling in their millions from the jungle towards the ocean, in a movement that has been provoked by the full moon for hundreds of thousands of years.

Poh Lin is a “trauma therapist” who lives with her family in this place of hostile and wild landscapes—one of the last places on the planet to be discovered. Every day, she talks with the asylum seekers held indefinitely in a high-security detention centre, attempting, relentlessly, to support them in a situation that is as unbearable as its outcome is uncertain.

As Poh Lin and her family explore the island’s powerful and threatening landscape, the local islanders carry out their ‘hungry ghost’ rituals for the spirits of those who died on the island without a burial. They make offerings to appease the lost souls who are said to be wandering the jungles at night looking for home.

In the intimacy of her therapy sessions as Poh Lin listens to the growing sense of despair she begins to feel the creeping dystopia reverberate through her own life.

ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS moves between the natural migration and the chaotic and tragic migration of the humans, which is in constant metamorphoses by the unseen decision-making structures.

NT Producer Alex Kelly is a filmmaker, communications and campaign strategist committed to social justice. She is based in Alice Springs and produced this film under the moniker echotango.

Watch Trailer

“[A] poetic profile of the forgotten asylum seekers detained on Christmas Island ... Lush cinematography... Timely subject matter.”

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Show Time(s)

Add to Calendar 7:30pm,
Thursday 13 September
Deckchair Cinema

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Running Time

94 minutes


Country of Origin

Australia (Christmas Island)


English and multiple with English subtitles