Gespenster (Ghosts) 2005

Who or what are the ghosts of the title of this film? As we watch the distorted and distracted lives of the three women at the centre of this film – the institutionalised Nina, the thief Toni and Françoise the mother searching for her lost child – we are left asking: are they haunted by ghosts? Or, are they themselves the ghosts haunting the lives of others? Françoise is haunted by the memory of losing her daughter in a supermarket. Nina floats, unattached to anyone in the world, adrift, an orphan, her only connection some sort of facility. Nina meets Toni, a grifter who seems to have no attachments at all. Is Nina the lost daughter of Françoise, or the ghost of that daughter? Is Françoise the ghost of Nina’s mother? Is the story Nina tells true – and has Toni been haunting her? Or is the story reflective of the whole film – just another tale. None of these questions are resolved – or to be more precise the resolution is untidy and leaves as much unclear as it answers. A thought provoking, if somewhat difficult film.

Edit: It occurred to me after I wrote this, that a slightly different interpretation is that Françoise is so confused by the “ghosts” of her missing daughter (the young women she sees everywhere and mistakes for her daughter) that she is unable to recognise her real daughter when she finds her.

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~ by Doug Newdick on April 7, 2008.

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