Hot Docs: The Ghosts In Our Machine – Liz Marshall


Jo-Anne McArthur is a talented and passionate photographer with a determination and drive rarely seen in people at all, let alone in someone so young.  McArthur is also an activist, and uses her photographic skills to document and share her empathetic view of animals in captivity.  From the appalling conditions of slaughterhouses and factory farms to unaccredited zoos and research facilities, McArthur forces the viewer to see these non-human animals through her eyes – and through theirs – in the hopes that the connection she finds with them will rub off onto at least some of the audience.


Marshall follows McArthur all over the world, documenting the often-required guerilla tactics used to capture the truth behind how animals are being treated in the global industry of non-essential products.  These disturbing and unsettling images are juxtaposed with footage of rescued animals living together on a farm sanctuary where they are nurtured and cared for throughout the remainder of their natural lives.  The film is not an easy watch, and it’s not meant to be.  The purpose of documenting and recording the lives of individual animals trapped in unthinkable and unimagineable conditions is intended to force the viewer to think about the issues, inspire conversations, and – ultimately – ignite action.


I have my own rant about animal cruelty and human ignorance and insensitivity, but these women have gone a few steps further to share the reality of the world with the rest of us, and I would encourage anyone and everyone to see this film if you get a chance.  it will put any viewer through a myriad of emotions, and my only real complaint is that I was suitably riled up once the final credits rolled, but had nowhere to direct my impotent rage.  The film serves only to document and show the tragedy of the world we’ve created – but that’s where it ends.  Do not look for an outlet  for feelings, or direction for a course of action.  This film is not here to take anyone by the hand and guide them toward a better life.  It is here to cast the first stone.  What happens after that is up to us.


The Ghosts In Our Machine is screening in Toronto as part of the Hot Docs Film Festival:

Sun, Apr 28 at 6:30 PM

Wed, May 1 at 11:00 AM

Sat, May 4 at 11:00 AM

Find out more at the links below:

Official Film Site



Join the movement.  Save the animals.  Save ourselves.



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