The Staging Post
Muzafar Ali, Khadim Dai
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
…a quiet film with a loud message.
In 2014, filmmaker Jolyon Hoff set out to understand what happened to those refugees turned away from Australia after the PM at the time, Tony Abbott, promised to ‘Stop the Boats’. Jolyon’s journey led him to Indonesia where he met two Afghan Hazara refugees, photographer Muzafar Ali and wannabee filmmaker Khadim Dai. The men, like many others, are waiting for the UNHCR to confirm their refugee status. Until then, they must live with the bare minimum, disallowed from being able to work or even study. Between the three men, The Staging Post gives an honest portrayal of refugee life and the steps taken to improve their situation.
The Staging Post is a quiet film with a loud message. It doesn’t overcompensate with flashy editing, or try to emotionally manipulate with a soundtrack of portentous piano music. It doesn’t need to, as what transpires on screen would cut through any superfluous bells and whistles. What it does do is show how a community can thrive even in the face of an uncertain and fearful future. Deciding to do something about the lack of education for their children, the two men and others set up a learning centre; something which is surprisingly in direct violation of UNHCR policy.
Over the course of the documentary, Hoff allows Ali and Dai to tell their own stories as their centre blossoms; we’re even shown a short film Dai has shot using his phone. In doing so, the political portraits of a faceless swarm invading Australian shores are dismantled to emphasise the individuality of each person we meet. At times heart-warming and heartbreaking, The Staging Post’s subjects radiate love for their fellow men and women. Even when Dai learns of how his people are portrayed overseas, it doesn’t stop him from shrugging it off and staying focused on helping the children around him.
The Staging Post is an important and uplifting documentary that reminds you that we are all human and capable of making change.
For information on community screenings of The Staging Post, go to the official site.