Hungry ghosts refers to a concept in Eastern religions for dead people who cannot say farewell to the living. The term is often a metaphor for people who do not realise that it is increasingly painful and difficult to find happiness if they continue to believe in their illusions. In this feature début by actor Michael Imperioli, his characters float as spirits through life, looking for happiness, looking for the fulfilment of a desire. Imperioli has been an actor in, and scriptwriter for, The Sopranos and played in more than 30 films, including ones by Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese.
In The Hungry Ghosts, several narrative lines run together. There's a rundown radio presenter (a beautiful role by Steve Schirripa, also from The Sopranos) who keeps on his feet using drink and pills and quarrels with his ex-wife on the phone about their son who has gone off the rails. There's a young woman who is fleeing her life and visits girlfriends and ex-boyfriends looking for a place to sleep. In the course of the film, set in and around New York in the period of 36 hours, it becomes clear and inevitable that the narrative lines will come together. The film is reminiscent of the best TV dramas, thanks to the subtle directing of the actors, the rapid sketching of situations in a character's life and the creation of space through clever moments of non-activity. (EH)

Filmmaker
Michael Imperioli
Premiere
World premiere
Country
USA
Year
2009
Medium
HDcam
Length
105’
Language
English
Producer
Stefan Schaefer, Diane Crespo
Production Company
Cicala Filmworks
Sales
Cicala Filmworks
Writer
Michael Imperioli
Cinematography
Dan Hersey
Editor
Erin Greenwell
Production Design
Victoria Imperioli, Illya Radysh
Cast
Nick Sandow, Aunjanue Ellis
Website
http://cicalafilmworks.com/