- 87 Minutes
- United States, Qatar, United Kingdom, Canada
- Language: Arabic and English and Turkish and Bulgarian
When the Taliban puts a bounty on Afghan director Hassan Fazili's head, he is forced to flee with his wife and two young daughters. Capturing their uncertain journey, Fazili shows firsthand the dangers facing refugees seeking asylum.
Director: Hassan Fazili
Screenwriter: Emelie Coleman Mahdavian
Production Company: Old Chilly Pictures
Premier Status: Asian Premiere
Spectacular and though-provoking documentary
I suppose we allI should be grateful to Hassan Fazili and his family, who have recorded the story of their immigration with all its suffering, dangers and joys, simply on their cell phones and made an opportunity for us to take this journey with them. We live in a time that walls and borders are long gone. Waves of immigration to the developed countries, just like slaves running away from their masters, in pursuit of freedom, security and equality, is an everyday reality. The world is much more smaller nowadays, so it cannot be controlled and manipulated like it was in the past. “Midnight Traveler” is a spectacular and intriguing documentary. An Afghan family leave home to save their lives, and build a new home in another land. On this tough journey, Hassan and his family keep their relationships intimate. His wife looking at him with love, sweetness of her smile, and her patience against all the difficulties and humiliations, is stunning. It seems the long years of war in Afghanistan have taught her how to live with constant suffering. His two little children are growing up, marginalized, insecure and always on the run. They suddenly see themselves in a world full of violence with meaningless boundaries. Wherever they go, Hassan and his family are criminals, just because they have a dream of living with dignity and security. They are criminals because they are looking for a home somewhere safe for their children to play with others and go to school under a blue sky,
Sometimes cinema is dirty
An Afghan couple (both filmmakers) after deciding to open an art café and then being threatened by Taliban take their three cellphone cameras and leave with their little girl. They delineate their travel of three years(by focusing on days spent during their travel) which begun from Tajikistan to Afghanistan, then to Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary, and ultimately Europe. At the end of these three unstable years they still have no shelter. The filmmaker is not neither trying to create adventures nor does he intend to share his and his wife’s inner worlds. He narrates different situations such as family’s migration while focusing on moments like children’s frustration, kindnesses, couple arguments, clashes with anti-immigrants, a couple of dangerous escapes, and their daughter getting lost. The film’s reaction towards these hardships is a serene one. There are effective visual passages and spots in the filmas well as this lonesome speech by the filmmaker: “I love Cinema but it is sometimes dirty. While changing rooms in the campus Zahra (his daughter) got lost. When I was looking for Zahra in the forest, while remembering bitter memories I turned on my camera and started to record. I suddenly recoiled and thought I would reach my daughter’s corpse with that camera and I would see her behind
it. It made me hate myself and the cinema.”
Awards2019 : Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, Special Jury Award, Winner, Greece
2019 : Sundance Film Festival, World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award in No Borders section (Winner), Grand Jury Prize (Nominated), USA
2019 : Berlin International Film Festival, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury - Special Mention (Winner), Panorama Audience Award (Nominated), Germany.
Cast and Crew
Screenwriter: Emelie Coleman Mahdavian
Editor: Emelie Coleman Mahdavian
Music: Gretchen Jude
Sound: Daniel Timmons
Producer: Su Kim, Emelie Coleman Mahdavian
Cast: Hassan Fazili, Nargis Fazili, Zahra Fazili, Fatima Hossaini
Hassan Fazili is an afghan director and cinematographer, known for Midnight Traveler (2019) and Voice of a Nation: My Journey Through Afghanistan (2012).