Chasing Freedom

My sister Margo and I often compare Netflix notes during our phone conversations.  She recommended Chasing Freedom, the story of an Afghan woman seeking asylum, with the caveat that it was hard on the emotions.  There is one unpleasant scene of a beating, which earned the movie an R rating.

I was interested simply because it was about Afghanistan.  Ever since I’ve read The Kite Runner, my heart has been turned toward the Afghani people.  Chasing Freedom has several domestic scenes from Meena’s life in Kabul.  Just getting a visual of a (surely recreated) Kabul street and neighborhood was valuable for me.

The story focuses on two women. Meena Gardizi, an young Afghani woman
who is seeking asylum from the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, arrives in New York only to be held in a detention center which looks much like prison. Libby,
the attorney who takes the pro bono case in order to pad her resumé, is introduced as a big-shot lawyer who eventually realizes that she’s not good enough. The softening-of-the-lawyer theme reminded me of Regarding Henry
Watch Libby’s hairstyle as the movie progresses.  The big draw in this
movie was Layla Alizaba in the role of Meena.  She played a wide range of emotions with understated intensity and created a very sympathetic character.    

While I enjoyed the movie, the plot lacked contour.  Later I noticed that it was a made for television movie; that made sense. 

Our family is always looking for the message, the point, the telos if you will, of the movie.  Obviously the producer believes America should have a different system for checking and detaining immigrants. This movie about immigration and asylum portrays the INS in a poor light, typical jail-keepers. While it plays on the emotions, we need to think clearly. It could be a great springboard for discussing the pros and cons of our current immigration policy. 

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3 thoughts on “Chasing Freedom

  1. Perhaps I will try and rent that this weekend.  Your topic reminded me of a newpaper article I read today about an Iranian woman, now residing in Atlanta, who wrote a book to debunk the popular characterizations of M*slims in America.
    “The young M*slims (described in the book)  world defy stereotypes in all sorts of ways. Like people in their 20s of different faiths, many of them question their religion, or their practice of it. They don’t fast sufficiently during Ramadan, then feel guilty about it. Some abstain from alcohol, some don’t.”
    Quote is from AJC article….
    How many M*slims live in Oregon?  Lots in our area…complete with building programs for their mosques.

  2. Did you all watch this?  My boys’ debate resolution this year is regarding current immigration policy, and they have come up against cases that discuss asylum seekers.  Could I show this to the boys?Di

  3. Dana, not many on our side of Oregon.  There are some international students, Remember, we’re in redneck country.  I would guess the closest mosque would be in Portland.  Topic change: I stumbled onto a blog post about the California fires, asking the question if they were good for the economy.  The writer referenced Hazlitt and the Broken Window and took some economists to task for saying the rebuilding of Southern California will be good for the economy.  It was an aha! moment.  Hooray!  I know what they’re talking about!  The funny thing was that it was a theological blog and I wasn’t looking for economy.Di, yes we all watched it.  Collin put the pillow up during one scene when Meena is just entering the detention center. She was being patted down, actually checked with a hand wand for metal, and has only a bra on top. You will know when the scene is coming, it doesn’t jump on top of you.  It isn’t clear as the scene unfolds how much of her body they will show, but only the top is visible.  The beating in Kabul is a typical movie beating scene: a man knocks her down and kicks her around.  And Di?  If you could direct me in areas to read about this I’d appreciate it.  I know nothing about immigration.  Your boys are getting such an education!

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