Watch and be grateful
This is not a film review. It’s simply a note about a film that should be required viewing for every Australian citizen.
It’s a story of a family of five who wait seven years in Malaysia for the permission to emigrate to Australia. They have fled from Afghanistan and spent time in Iran before arriving in Malaysia. Living in a cramped apartment in Kuala Lumpur, at times with other families as well, they scrape together a living, just.
The family depends heavily on teenage Zahra’s English language skills and her agency. It is Zahra who negotiates their slow journey towards visas, who works 10-12 hours for $2 an hour to supplement her father’s income, who feels the pain of being friendless, but appreciates her family’s strong bonds, nevertheless.
This documentary on resettlement is a tribute to the persistence and compassion of filmmaker Robyn Hughan and her colleagues.
It’s sweetened and leavened with the glorious musical score, written and performed by Alyce Platt.
But it’s primarily propelled by the love and laughter of a family under extreme pressure, who carry each other through the tortuous journey to a new life in Australia.
I believe Journey Beyond Fear should be mandatory viewing for all of us because, despite our heartless and overly lengthy immigration process, this family loves our country and the opportunity it offers.
I am deeply grateful to them for reminding me just how lucky most of us are.