The Short & Sweet Film Festival has put up this great review of GHOSTS OF NEW YORK on their web page. It is a thoughtful piece and is one of the few places that has really gotten all the film is about. You can either click on the link or read the text below.
“Ghost of New York” is an interesting short that shines light on a thing we all do on a daily basis: pass strangers in the street. It starts with a voice over of a girl who talks about these people she “knows” and how she calls them her ghosts. It’s an awesome and very thoughtful way of portraying how we interact with strangers. How we hope they can make an impact on our lives if they interacted with us. It’s a really unique approach and it actually adds a lot of characterization to Jane, our main protagonist. This short is only about six minutes long and it had me hooked to figure out what kind of person Jane really was and why she thinks the way she does throughout the piece.
The way this is shot is very “casual” and that does a great job at capturing what it’s like to walk in the streets of New York City. There’s something that feels organic with the way they decided to approach the cinematography, and every shot counts to add something to the story as we follow Jane question who these ghosts are that she follows randomly in her daily routine. We get the huge cityscape, the cramped subway, and the overcrowded crosswalks, as well as nice hidden coffee shops that very few people go to.
What I admire the most about this short film is how casually they bring up these questions of who strangers are and ultimately the main question itself: are we a ghost of somebody else? It’s such an odd thing to think about and one we don’t see very often being portrayed in films, but it never felt weird as Jane talked to us, because it felt organic and raw. A human talking to another human (us, the audience) and asking us to think about our interactions with strangers. It’s poetic and it’s beautiful.
Also, the writing of the short film was well done, as it does a good job at blending these questions we have on a daily basis, and puts them into a character that easily conveys without having too much exposition or clicheness. Each line is unique and like I stated earlier, these moments are what add a lot more depth to the character of Jane. There were moments when the voice over would narrate a certain time Jane comes across people in certain situations, and every situation is super relatable because they are things that we see every single day at some point if we take public transportation, or even take a walk in the city.
I would recommend this film solely because of how relatable and real it tends to feel in the six minutes of its running time. Jane is a character that can easily exist in our world and as we follow her, we slowly realize that we have become one of the ghosts that she talks about in the very beginning. As a viewer, we want to get to know her more and follow her to see what interactions she runs into; which is exactly what she wants with the people she so happens to run into.