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A Beat Sheet for Ghosts (2006). Directed by Nick Broomfield

A Beat Sheet is used in the film industry to record significant features of each scene in a film. These are some of the features that I spotted when watching Ghosts. Feel free to add your own thoughts and ideas. Also check that I have got all the right bits in the right places! In the exam you will need to discuss specific MICRO features as well as broader MACRO features such and themes and issues of the film, narrative and the impact of narrative on audience responses to the film.

Scene Description

Tracking shot of transit van crossing deserted beach; cold and raining Cut to 2-shot mid-shot of two Chinese men talking (one is driving); first mention of Ghosts – Ghosts linked to violence Camera slowly moves into CU of lead character (Ai Qin) Long shot of Chinese workers on beach – framing of shot signifies their isolation and vulnerability; workers

What do the MICRO/MACRO elements communicate to the audience? What do we (the audience) learn in each scene?


cockel picking – which looks back-breaking work

Series of cuts of the tide coming into shore and towards the van; diegetic sounds of wind enhance the danger Flash forward a few hours; it is now dark; Chinese cockle pickers are on top of the van; waves are crashing over the van; Ai Qin calls home; Ai Qin asks her mother about the money lender; she speaks to her son Bebe and sings him a song (sound bridge of Ai Qin singing the song to Bebe) Flashback – title screen states 'One Year Earlier'; Ai Qin in tracking shot singing with her son on the back of her bike. Ai Qin is a rural worker; title state that rural workers in China earn $30 per month; this links with factual, documentary style of filming, especially as Nick Broomfield is famous for documentary films Ai Qin sat around table with her family; they talk about her leaving for England; her mother wants her to stay; Ai Qin doesn't want to leave, but she sees working in England as the only way to pay for Bebe's education; scene


is shot in a hand-held documentary style which raises levels of verisimilitude. Ai Qin meets the Chinese trafficker; he charges $25,000 to get her into England; he shows Ai Qin a successful Chinese man leant against his BMW; Ai Qin pays $5,000 Ai Qin leaves China – map of the journey is shown on screen; she travels across China, through Kazakstan; to Moscow; Ukraine; Romania; Belgrade. They transfer into a lorry at Belgrade; Ai Qin comforts a child who is upset; they arrive in Calais At Calais they are transferred into a small white transit van; they are placed inside a box at the back of the van; lots of pollution; they are unable to escape the box as the top is screwed into place; box fills with black smoke; camerawork is very close of Ai Qin and gives an indication of the claustrophobia felt by Ai Qin They finally arrive in UK after a six month journey Met by Chinese gangsters; force Ai Qin to call home and release the final payment; again hand held camerawork used throughout


England is cold and wet; Mr Lin drives Ai Qin; Mr Lin tries to convince Ai Qin to earn £250 per week by giving massages Van arrives in Thetford; rent is £25 per week; Ai Qin shares room with three Chinese men Bathroom busy; Mr Lin shown watching porn in bed; Mr Lin bullies the other Chinese workers – tells a man to 'get out of the bathroom' Crowded kitchen Ai Qin offered a UK Work Permit by Mr Lin, but she must pay £250. Ai Qin thought she had already paid for the permit; when Ai Qin gets the permit it does not have her name or her photo on it; Mr Lin says that the Ghosts will not notice Employment Agency, Thetford – takes bribes of cigarettes and money from Mr Lin; Ai Qin gets a job in a meat factory Duck Processing Factory – Ai Qin checks duck carcases – meets friendly English girl, but finds out that she is earning less money than her for the same job Camera cuts to Ai Qin bagging ducks; title states that she finishes work at midnight and is back again at 8:30am Ai Qin talks with Chinese house mate – she is missing Bebe; she


is worried about not being able to provide for him; audience find out a bit of back-story about Ai Qin – she does not take money from Bebe's father Pay Day – Ai Qin only gets £100 for a 40 hour week; Agency say that she must pay 44% tax on all earnings; Ai Qin powerless to complain Mr Lin and Ai Qin have an argument about her pay; Mr Lin shouts at Ai Qin – 'You are nothing; an illegal with a fake name' Ai Qin phones home; she speaks to Bebe and says 'Oh God when can I come home?' Robert (the landlord) is introduced – Mr Lin's girlfriend is also seeing Robert; she says that she has 12 people living in the house; Robert says that he wants 15 living there Ai Qin picks spring onions; she is told that the onions are for the supermarkets Asda, Sainsburys and Tescos Cut to Ai Qin in supermarket; everything is very expensive BBQ – rivalry builds between Robert and Mr Lin; Mr Lin shown as being quite humorous Audience find out that Ai Qin's husband left her for another woman Ai Qin's house mate is in


trouble with money lenders – they are threatening his family in China; he cries and says that he only came to England to give his mum a better life Ai Qin cannot get a job with the agency Mr Lin invites Ai Qin into his room – he wants her to work in a massage parlour in London Cut to Ai Qin learning English Apple Picking – idyllic farm location; workers offered tea with milk Apple trees in farm then uprooted in time lapse Police Raid – handheld used throughout


Ghosts Beat Sheet  

half a Best Sheet for Ghosts