Tom Zubrycki's documentary The Diplomat (MIFF 2000) focused on the struggle for independence in East Timor and its impact both politically and personally. In Molly and Mobarak, Zubrycki turns his knowing eye on a group of asylum seekers in a small, rural NSW town, focusing on various relationships between the townsfolk and refugees, and the surprising repercussions.The observational narrative is filtered through the experiences of a divided community still haunted by the memory of anti-Chinese riots during the 1860s gold rush, which led to the establishment of the White Australia policy.
Mobarak, a 23-year-old refugee, who works at the local abattoir strikes up a friendship with high school teacher, Molly. His increasing affections for her are not reciprocated, and feeling rejected, he temporarily leaves town. The owner of the abattoir, Tony, is concerned about Mobarak's absence, as there is talk amongst the other workers that the refugees receive special treatment. When a racist flyer is distributed around town, with Tony as a target, the local school teachers organise a number of activities, including soccer games and volleyball, to calm the growing discontentment. Meanwhile, time for Morabak is running out, as the thought of returning to his village outside Kabul terrifies him.
An urgent and timely work from one of Australia's most incisive filmmakers.