MIDNIGHT TRAVELER – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Midnight Traveler is a documentary that puts a human face on a global problem. It goes beyond conventional news footage that narrows our ideas about asylum seekers and migrants. This documentary is timely and needed. Whether you’re for taking in and helping immigrants or against any kind of immigration and just want to build a wall around the country. This film will make you think twice about what you stand for and what you are doing to make a difference.
The film tells the story of filmmakers Hassan and Fatima Fazili. When the Taliban puts a bounty on Afghan director Hassan Fazili’s head, he is forced to flee the country with his wife and two young daughters Nargis and Zahra. They tried to avoid taking the smuggling route, but with the specter of certain death, if they stayed, the family has to flee in the night to try and find a safe haven. Hassan is quoted as saying, “The film is made in the space of emigration, but it does not impose any genre or style. Working with the three mobile phones we had, we discovered a style of framing and camera movement that captures the experience of our family on the run.” Capturing the family’s uncertain journey firsthand, Fazili documents their harrowing trek across several borders. Revealing the danger and uncertainty facing refugees seeking asylum juxtaposed with the unbreakable love shared amongst a family on the run.
The score by Gretchen Jude for the film is perfect. It sets a meditative tone for the documentary while incorporating the lute-like Afghan rubab. It blends well with the intimacy that the handheld phone footage gives us. The film allows you to experience being on the run with a family that you’ll fall in love with. When you see the small girls exposed to the elements hiding out in the forest or being eaten up by bugs from the dirty mattresses at their first refugee camp, you are there to share in their misery.
No matter what your political beliefs, if you see this film and aren’t moved by it or gain some sympathy for refugees and what they go through, something is wrong. You might just need to question your humanity at a basic level. This film is just that good at conveying its information in a way anyone can understand.
I give Midnight Traveler an A+ rating. This is cinema at its best. It can create an understanding that, hopefully, will lead to change.
Directed by: Hassan Fazili
Running Time: 90min
Selig Rating A+
Limited Release: November 12th VOD
Starring: Hassan Fazili, Fatima Hossaini. Nargis Fazili, Zahra Fazili
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.