Turkey’s first-ever International Migration Film Festival was deliberate to make an entrance onto the nation’s annual occasions calendar within the southeastern metropolis of Gaziantep this 12 months however, sadly, needed to migrate on-line because of the onset of the Corona Virus pandemic.
The competition, which started on June 14, affords free of cost 45 movies tackling the theme of migration, a scorching potato of a topic in phrases of each the actual and cinematic world. The competition’s purpose is to indicate that migration has been a standard narrative skilled by all nations all through historical past.
“Midnight Traveler” by Afghan director Hassan Fazili, which premiered on the Sundance Film Festival final 12 months, is only one function film buffs can deal with themselves to on-line. At the very starting of the film, the director states that the function was shot in its entirety on simply three cellphones.
As the story unfolds, revealing the true story of Fazili and his household’s journey, it appears the filmmaker had no different selection however to doc his journey on easy handheld gadgets.
In an interview with Filmmaker journal, Fazili says: “We needed the viewers to be nearer to our pleasure, disappointment, desires and emotions. We needed the viewer to really feel that had been by our facet all through the movie, laughing and crying with us, feeling hopeless and confused alongside us and never simply watching from the sidelines.”
As the director states, “Midnight Traveler” is an intimate manufacturing presenting this household’s migration story as a marginal half of a larger core.
Before setting off on the difficult asylum-seeking course of of the Fazili household, the film presents a each day dialog between Fazili and his spouse Fatima whereas in Tajikistan. The couple talks in regards to the ants swirling at Fazili’s ft whereas he’s consuming. Fazili says that they’re residing beings and have the appropriate to reside. As an individual who believes within the sanctity of life, this scene made me suppose for a second about migrants whose proper to reside is taken away from them and ignored by those that would name themselves civilized.
The couple should return Afghanistan after the Tajik authorities proclaims that they’ll now not keep. Fazili tries to hunt asylum because the Taliban has put a bounty on his head resulting from Afgan TV airing one of his movies that paints a Taliban commander in an unflattering mild. For this cause, Nargis Fazili, the couple’s firstborn, says the movie “is the story of a journey to the sting of hell.”
Fazili is a self-taught director and helps his spouse, who couldn’t obtain an training, like many Afghan girls, make her personal films. Although he comes from a conventional household the place most boys had been introduced as much as develop into mullahs, Fazili makes his personal approach in a unique profession path with Hussaini. They additionally opened an arts cafe in Kabul, a social gathering venue for open-minded folks. However, because of the unstable safety atmosphere, the cafe was raided by police and boycotted by suspicious locals, resulting in its closure.
Traveling from Tajikistan to Afghanistan, the household tries to go to some other nation as quickly as doable. Their route proceeds to Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia and eventually Hungary.
The household just isn’t bothered as a lot throughout components of their journey in Iran and Turkey; the viewers even witnesses how Nargis enjoys the waters of Istanbul. Nevertheless, seeing their residing situations all through this course of is heartbreaking. When the household is in Bulgaria, situations worsen. Apart from home issues, resembling Nargis’ existential disaster resulting from boredom, the household is threatened by nationalist teams. The household decides Bulgaria is now not protected they usually have to alter their location. At that second, I began to surprise how Fazili might shoot all these scenes by himself. Surely, every member of the family takes a flip with the telephone, however my key concern was how Fazili, as a father, might stand to report his household’s distress.
While Fazili is clearly a caring, loving father, he instantly turns into simply an observer when he holds the telephone. He even confesses this at one level. When his toddler Zahra will get misplaced, he thinks about all of the dangerous information they’ve heard about kidnapped kids and is apprehensive about her security. However, he additionally thinks that if he searches for her within the bushes whereas filming and finds her corpse, this would be the most putting scene within the film.
Fazili continues in his interview for Filmmaker: “I attempted to make myself look robust, however I actually was afraid and didn’t know the place to seek out security. I used to be ashamed of myself that I couldn’t do something for them. I hated myself; I hated the cinema; I needed to interrupt the cell phone and beat myself.”
After Bulgaria, the household took refugee in Serbia. Waiting for 2 or three years, they lastly reached Hungary, the place they had been held in a transit zone extra akin to a jail. However, regardless of all of the barbed wires, the place turns into of sudden consolation as they obtain information that their asylum declare has been accepted.
This true story of this fugitive household captures their vulnerability and resilience on the identical time. After some time, the viewers depart behind the sensation that they’re watching a film, and the empathy that’s established with realism confounds the psyche.