Review: ‘Midnight Traveler’

Hot Docs 2019

2 mins read

Midnight Traveler
(USA/Canada/Qatar/UK, 87 min.)
Dir. Hassan Fazili
Programme: World Showcase (Canadian Premiere)

There are many stories to come out of the conflict in Afghanistan, and many more regarding the plight of refugees from areas of conflict, but few have been as harrowing and effective as Hassan Fazili’s Midnight Traveler. Shot over a period of years on mobile phones, it traces the Fazili family’s escape from their native country into Europe.

What sets the story apart is that Fazili was forced to leave because of a film he made. This is the escape of a filmmaker because of an earlier film – one where the subject was assassinated by the Taliban in retribution for the work – making the stakes somehow even more relatable to a festival audience. The up-and-downs of the journey are often heartbreaking, especially when what seems like a straightforward journey is marred by violence and betrayal. The film refuses to shy away from moments of doubt or even anger between family members, all while trying desperately to simply escape from their circumstances. Despite the simple equipment capturing the imagery, this migration tale does have substantial cinematic impact, and thanks to this filmmaking family, we’re treated to a unique, personal insight into the refugee crisis and all that it embodies.

Midnight Traveler screens:
-Sun, Apr. 28 at 9:00 p.m. at Cineplex Scotiabank
-Mon, Apr. 29 at 2:30 p.m. at Cineplex Scotiabank
-Sun, May 5 at 12:30 p.m. at Aga Khan

Visit the POV Hot Docs Hub for more coverage from this year’s festival!

Hot Docs runs April 25 to May 5. Please visit for more info.

Jason Gorber is a film journalist and member of the Toronto Film Critics Association. He is the Managing Editor/Chief Critic at and a regular contributor for POV Magazine, and CBC Radio. His has written for Slashfilm, Esquire, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Screen Anarchy, HighDefDigest, Birth.Movies.Death, IndieWire and more. He has appeared on CTV NewsChannel, CP24, and many other broadcasters. He has been a jury member at the Reykjavik International Film Festival, Calgary Underground Film Festival, RiverRun Film Festival, TIFF Canada's Top 10, Reel Asian and Fantasia's New Flesh Award. Jason has been a Tomatometer-approved critic for over 20 years.

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