Pit Stops: Our Review of ‘Midnight Traveler’ on OVID

Posted in What's Streaming? by - May 29, 2024
Pit Stops: Our Review of ‘Midnight Traveler’ on OVID

Some people still really don’t know what refugees go through and Hassan Fazili’s Midnight Traveler clears things up. Being a refugee means remembering one’s history and saying goodbye to their home so that they can survive. Hassan sits down near a mosque in his home country of Afghanistan, taking pictures of it while narrating his story. A descendant of mullahs and a brother to six of them, he would have followed their path. Partly because of his wife’s Fatima’s influence, he becomes a filmmaker, criticising the Taliban’s patriarchal views. After the Taliban puts a price on his head, he temporarily flees to Tajikistan only for them to deport him.

The fight isn’t over for Hassan and his family as they plead their case to the European Union. The only way to do this, though, is for them to smuggle themselves into Europe using the Balkan route. The documentary, then, depicts a journey that takes more than a year, capturing tough scenes on several smartphones. Most of the documentary takes place in Bulgaria, a country with abusive smugglers and rising racist statements. Hassan captures his family’s most vulnerable moments after they happen, even taking turns as narrators, sharing their nuanced perspectives. Midnight Traveler also captures Hassan Fazili’s family in limbo in one of their longer stops in Serbia.

As Hassan Fazili points his camera phone at his family, Midnight Traveler shows the double meanings of refugee life. A lot of things look normal, like him taking his daughters Nargis and Zahra to shop for shoes. But this is more than just a shopping spree as they’re all replacing shoes worn out by foot travel. Even a trip to the mall is a big risk – any day in Bulgaria means a physical threat. The same goes for every image viewers see because it’s a miracle we get to it completely. Hassan has to upload each scene to his producers just in case his family can’t complete their perilous journey.

Outside of Midnight Traveler being an important chronicle of refugee life, it gives us a lot, aesthetically. It bears repeating that a documentary where a filmmaker uses some Androids looks better than some fictional films. A film three years in the making, there are montages as well as B-rolls showing camp life’s silver linings. These silver linings brighten as Hassan interviews Fatima, both joking about which one of them is the progressive one. But the documentary is just as good at snapping its viewers into reality, into a refugee’s limbo life. It shows that there’s a lot of waiting involved for a family to plead for a better life.

Watch Midnight Traveler on OVID.

This post was written by
While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
Comments are closed.
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-61364310-1', 'auto'); ga('send', 'pageview');