Review: The Forgotten (documentary)

The Forgotten by Sabrina Aman shows us the live and struggles of Eritrean refugees and shines light on a criminally overlooked humanitarian problem.

The movie gives us a summary of the history of Eritrea, its war for independence from Ethiopia and the following political upheavals, that eventually led to a free Eritrea which is unfortunatelly not that free and a cold war situation with Ethiopia which is not that cold either. The movie informs us further about specific reasons behind the refugee crisis and backs it up with facts and numbers from experts. And then there is the core of the whole plot: Sabrina. Our director and protagonist, herself an American Eritrean, who got to know about the refugee crisis and started investigating on her own until she decided to go to Sudan and shot a documentary on site.

Her Father, being a political activist in his youth and even imprisoned for his activism worried for his daughter and insisted on going with her. In the course of the movie we get to know both of them and their relationship to each other. That gives the movie a natural character dynamic and subplot, making The Forgotten, which is relatively short with its 60 minutes runtime, more layered and personal. Also, without spoiling too much: Sabrina’s dad is the secret hero of the movie. I salute you, Sir.

You can tell that Sabrina was passionate about this project and put a lot of effort into making this documentary. Most of the movie is shot on a hand held camera or mobile phone due to legal restrictions and risks. Scenes that couldn’t be filmed have been shown as animation, reminding me of motion comics. These were beautifully executed and effectively narrated. When it comes to the interviews and situations shown in the movie, there was this thing i like to call the magic of moment.

Our world is billions of years old and inhabiting countless souls. And then there is this one girl going to Sudan with her smartphone and capturing one of the most interesting and charismatic people i have seen on camera in a long time.
Sometimes it is just necessary to do it. To go out and shot it. You never know who you will meet and what moments you will capture on film and be able to bring to the silver screen. She had an interesting encounter with a women who was 105 years old – mashallah – i mean what are the odds?

First and foremost The Forgotten is a movie about and for the people depicted, creating awareness for a problem rarely addressed in public media.
It is a strong piece of art, mixing guerilla style handheld footage, heartfelt animated sequences, and comedic elements into a short but dense experience.

It is a movie about awareness, charity, and family and definitely worth the watch. I had the great opportunity to attend a screening in the presence of the the director and her father. The Q&A following the screening was insightful and gave the whole project even more weight. So if there is a screening in your area, i am highly recommending it.

If you want to know more about the movie and upcoming screenings, check out the film’s website.
Also, Sabrina launched RefuCare, a humanitarian organization in support of healthcare and education for refugees, check it out if you like and get involved.


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