Ghosted Plays Like an Amateur Debut


Ghosted (alternate title: A Chinese Lesbian Ghost Story) is so clunky and amateurish that you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s director Monika Treut’s debut instead of the latest in a 25-year career. Armed with a firm lesbian fanbase on the festival circuit, Treut offers a brief, incoherent excursion into supernatural mystery with exactly zero tension. The story’s fulcrum is Ai-Ling (Ke Huan-Ru), who comes to Hamburg to learn more about why her father left Taipei. She meets artist Sophia (Inga Busch) at a screening of Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s Three Times (a wishful allusion; no good for Treut can come of that comparison). Sophia apparently has enough street cred to present subpar, only-Facebook-worthy digital photos of Ai-Ling as her latest “project.” Meanwhile, five months pass in the first 15 minutes and then, all of a sudden, Ai-Ling’s dead, Sophia’s in Taipei with said slideshow project, and journalist Mei-Li (Ting-Ting Hu) wants the whole story and/or into Sophia’s pants. What happened is no clearer at the end than at the beginning—or maybe I’m just an exceptionally slow viewer—but it seems unimportant anyway. Flat visuals, flat script, flat performances: Ghosted is only mildly redeemed by the on-the-ground travelogue footage of Taipei and Hamburg, and I’m being generous.