Midnight Traveler – Review [Hot Docs 2019]

Midnight Traveler screened at this year’s Hot Docs Film Festival. Oscilloscope Laboratories will release the film later this year.

[Ed. Note: Being that TV and City is on a bit of a hiatus, this article has not been edited.]

By David Cuevas

Shot on three different phones over the span of three years, Midnight Traveler is an intriguing doc, to say the least. Demonstrating the perilous journey of the Fazili family, and there search for asylum, to escape the treacherous and murderous fate of the Taliban, this vlog styled documentary is nothing short of riveting, in terms of the family’s experience and their hardship. Commenting on the overwhelming amount of bigotry and hatred towards immigrants in Europe, more specifically in Bulgaria, director Hussan Fazili, the father in the film, perfectly encapsulates the madness and chaos, from both their perspective and external perspective (the media, gangs, civilians, etc.) The film also comes with plenty of emotionally empowering segments, more specifically near the end of it’s short 86 minute runtime, where we witness a montage of the family’s hopes and dreams, and the glacial wait for a safe home to live in.

Although it’s presentation does become predictable, utilizing mainly a stilted/dry vlog formula for most of its coverage, the film could have certainly added more backstory segments presented with archival footage, or additional one-and-one monologues from each of the family members. This goes without saying, that within its convoluted presentation, it’s the family dynamic that really counts. Midnight Traveler may be a deep and distressing watch for some, but it’s relevant material and topical story is one to be viewed with an open mind and an open heart.

I give Midnight Traveler a B.