Every aspect of the journey is filmed; every step of the way becomes a cinematic experience. Perhaps that is what made the undertaking a bit more bearable. In any case, there is no private sphere for the family. This is nothing new for Hassan Fazili. Back in Afghanistan, his wife Fatima and his daughter Narges featured in his short movie "Mr. Faziliʹs wife". This time, the whole family served as the camera team, and when Hassan or Fatima, who is also a filmmaker, werenʹt filming, then one of their daughters was bound to have the phone in her hand.
This is how they amassed the hundreds of hours of film footage, through which Hassan Fazili and his production team had to sift. The selection and raw cut of the film took place while the family was still on the road. At all stages along the way, the producers in New York organised the collection of finished film material on the ground and provided the director with Internet links to new versions of the edited material.
As a result, the film emerged gradually, with Fazili and his team assembling the final version together during an intensive period of post-production in Germany. They engaged in some laborious digital finessing to improve the technically limited quality offered by the mobile phone footage – enabling Faziliʹs magically beautiful images to shine just as equally on the big screen.
Ultimately the family received some comforting news – they were placed at the top of the list allowing them to travel from the Roszke transit camp to Hungary. What followed were another three frustrating months of waiting and uncertainty, during which they were not permitted to leave. Finally they reached their destination – Germany.
This is where the film ends, but the story continues. Their application for refugee status was rejected, a decision they are currently appealing. Can a film director persecuted by the Taliban, whose struggle is documented in a prize-winning film ("Midnight Traveler" received the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for No Borders at the Sundance Festival), be turned away? It is hard to believe.
Fazili, however, is taking it all in his stride. "These days we have a better lawyer." After all, he needs his energy for other things. The director is already coming up with ideas for new film projects.
© Qantara.de 2019
Translated from the German by John Bergeron