filmstill from the movie a pile of ghostsI

In probably no other country are cities destroyed and then immediately rebuilt at such a breathtaking pace as in China. Overproduction is the consequence of this construction activity. Film director and artist Ella Raidel has spent several years researching this topic. In 2021 she concluded her observations with the film A PILE OF GHOSTS.

Without off-commentary, we see empty high-rise canyons, ongoing demolition work, and real-life sales tours in empty residential parks, ironically broken up by re-enacted scenes. Embedded in this is the fictional story of Charles, who lives on the outskirts of the megacity of Chongquing in an empty hotel threatened with demolition.

Different narrative levels merge into one another. When the director has the main character Charles wander through real demolition scenarios, reality, and fiction mix in many ways. For example, the actor actually lives in a vacant hotel. It belonged to his parents and is still standing, although a demolition notice was served years ago.

Ella Raidel shot the images in China without permission. The uncensored view, and the opening of a discursive space, makes A PILE OF GHOSTS remarkable.

The Q&A session with the director following the screening at CROSSING EUROPE was very informative. She provided important background information for understanding the experimental documentary film. If the film is shown outside the festival context, the additional provision of information, e.g. in the form of an exhibition, could therefore facilitate access to A PILE OF GHOSTS.