Midnight Traveler review – a remarkable, moving portrait of the refugee crisis

Simran Hans
Midnight Traveler review – a remarkable, moving portrait of the refugee crisis. An Afghan film-maker fleeing the Taliban documents his family’s three-year search for asylum – on his mobile

Eight-year-old Nargis is crying because she’s bored. The daughter of Afghan film-makers Hassan Fazili and Fatima Hossaini, she spent three years without a home after the Taliban put a price on her father’s head, and halfway through the film, in a refugee camp, this sanguine little girl has had enough. In this remarkable documentary shot entirely on mobile phones, Nargis, her parents and her younger sister, Zahra, seek asylum in Tajikistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary.

All four take turns filming; the combination of perspectives paints a vivid and hopeful portrait of a family, as well as an indictment of the refugee crisis. Nargis films goats and clouds, is thrilled by the “angry” water that laps at her feet, frequently confuses adventure with a sense of peril. When Zahra briefly goes missing, Hassan contemplates the ethics of looking for her with his camera. “This will be the best scene in your film,” he worries aloud.