And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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Review: Midnight Traveler

Stories of refugees and immigrants are all over the news these days. But mostly they’re about numbers and policy while the people are faceless and nameless. What this gritty documentary does is put names and faces on a family who are forced to flee their home and navigate the horrid landscape of the refugee system to find a safe place. Shot entirely on their smart phones, it’s the story of Hassan Fazili, an Afghan filmmaker who was marked for death by the Taliban and escaped with his family, crossing border after border to find a home in Europe. It’s a day by day chronicle of what a family has to endure to satisfy the requirements of various immigration systems. From leaving Afghanistan to finally getting asylum in Germany, they filmed themselves for almost two full years on their 3,500-mile journey.

AFI DOCS (Days 3 & 4)

So many films, so little time. Running back and forth from DC to Silver Spring, it was impossible to see all the films that were available. Anyone who can, should go next year. I’ll let you know when, and we can see them all then compare notes! Here are my short takes on the films I saw the last two days. Trailers are below.

The Black Tulip

I am sure you haven’t seen a lot of films from Afghanistan. It is not exactly the Hollywood of central Asia. But I was intrigued when I heard about The Black Tulip. It is directed and co-written by an Afghan expatriate, Sonia Nassery Cole who bravely shot it in Kabul and also stars as the main character Farishta. The matriarch of the Mansouri family — wife, sister, daughter, mother — Farishta tries her best to lead a normal life after her family returns to Kabul just after the Taliban’s reported demise. She and her husband open a restaurant, an open-mic poetry salon, but it seems the Taliban is not far enough away to let them live in peace.