Khadija (Saadia Bentaïeb) is a fifty-eight-year-old Maghrebi cleaning woman living in Brussels in the wake of the 2016 bombings that shook the city. After work one night, she falls asleep on the last subway train, wakes up at the end of the line and has no choice but to make her way home—all the way across the city—on foot. Along the way, she has a series of encounters: with a security guard, a convenience store clerk, a group of teenagers. She asks for help and she gives it and slowly, steadily makes her way.
Director Bas Devos’ lightness of touch combines with the richness of Grimm Vanderkerckhove’s 16mm images to create a small wonder of humanistic storytelling. Ghost Tropic is a testament to the everyday drama of immigrant life and insists on the possibility of goodness and beauty, even in the dark of night.
“Stunning… A delicate miniature that’s magnificently humanist, occasionally amusing and shot in a palette of rich, saturated nighttime hues… really great.” – Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter
“Gorgeous… A witching hour-and-a-half that unfurls as gradually and un-threateningly as the sky lights up during dawn.” -Ben Driscoll, Sight and Sound
“Hypnotic and haunting, one of the great visual achievements of the year.” -Hannah Faris, Chicago Monitor
“A compressed epic… This poetic Belgian feature manages to say a good deal about life, death, and the state of the globalized world.” -Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
“A film as gentle, sad and empathetic as an Edward Hopper painting.” -David Perrin, MUBI Notebook
“Saadia Bentaïeb’s performance is a gem of minute gradations—every look, pause and reaction matters.” -Tim Grierson, Screen Daily