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Undocument is a narrative feature that follows four characters who are experiencing difficulties gaining citizenship. Although this film tells multiple narratives, none of these stories are interwoven like they are in Four Rooms or Traffic. Instead, this film gives the audience a brief look at the frustration, heartbreak, and sorrow that often accompanies the families who are dealing with immigration laws in different countries.
Directors Amin Bakhshian and Kyla Simone Bruce shot the four segments of the film over a two year span in both Iran and London. The directors reportedly based these four stories on documented incidents using factual research and personal stories.
The film starts off with Leila, an Iranian who is seeking to escape the country after marrying without her family’s permission (a huge no-no in Iranian culture that’s worthy of death). Her goal is to meet up with her husband who had previously fled the country in order to set things up for them in London. To further complicate this situation, Leila finds out that she is pregnant and will need to complete the rigorous journey through the mountains of Iran in this condition.
As the film transitioned to the next story, I thought that there would be some sort of callback to Leila’s story, but unfortunately we are left with somewhat of a vague ending. There was no weaving of her story in with others, and as viewer I felt cheated. This trend continues throughout the remaining three stories where we are introduced to several more families and asked to invest in their stories. Again and again, three more characters in their journey towards citizenship are told with minimal reward for the audience.
The difficulty with the narrative is that we get glimpses into each of the characters’ lives, however, once we are invested into their lives, there is no resolution for their tales. The film does a good job of capturing the mood of its characters, but there is much here that needs to be better explained.