IDFA Review: The One Who Runs Away Is the Ghost

The foggy city

It’s remarkable how young minds work. Whilst adults spend their time concentrating on the important business of daily life, moving from one mundane, yet important, task to another, the imagination of children knows no bounds. In the modern West, children are exposed to myriad electronic stimuli, but in poorer regions they often (still) have to make their own entertainment. Using their innate creativity, inquisitiveness and environment as a playground.  

Filmmaker Qinyuan Lei spent her childhood growing up in an electronics shop in Shenzhen. It was her home but also formed the parameters of her world. She wanted to make a film about her experiences. To show what it was like. To walk in her footsteps. Enter Haohao and Zhouzhou, two sisters aged five and eight, who spend their lives in an electronics market in the Chinese province. The One Who Runs Away Is the Ghost follows them as they roam the corridors.

The One Who Runs Away Is the Ghost is a quiet and charming documentary which captures the ingenuity of active young minds. The siblings occupy their days by exploring their kingdom, letting their imaginations run wild. It’s a timely reminder that children don’t need to be constantly connected to electronic devices. Lei provides a voiceover to their adventures but The One Who Runs Away Is the Ghost mostly just allows the viewer a window into their world.

The One Who Runs Away Is the Ghost screens at International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam.

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