Flee (2021)

JONAS POHER RASMUSSEN

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

Original Title: Flugt

////USA///, 2021. , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Screenplay by , Jonas Poher Rasmussen. Produced by , , . Music by . Production Design by , . Film Editing by .

A man who has lived his whole life on the run from his war-torn childhood confronts the fact that he has also been running away from a very hard truth, which he must make his peace with if he is going to find any success in his future. Amin sits down to tell his life story to an old school friend who is recording his testimony, beginning with growing up in Kabul as the youngest son of a large family whose father is arrested for suspected anti-Mujahideen sympathies and, after a few months in prison, disappears and is never heard from again. His wife and children realize the danger they are all in and do their best to flee to safety, first to Russia where they meet up with Amin’s eldest brother, who had already immigrated to Sweden, and who arranges a human trafficker to bring them across the Baltic to Sweden.

That effort is a disaster, sending them to detention in Estonia before going back to Russia, where a second attempt is made more successfully. Amin is the sole survivor who ends up in Copenhagen as a young teen, living alone as an unaccompanied minor and eventually settling in and making friends, as an adult achieving a successful post-graduate academic career and falling in love with his Danish partner Kasper. He and Kasper will soon be married and Amin has decisions to make about the post-doctoral opportunities that have come his way, but he cannot move forward until he addresses a secret about his life that he has never shared with anyone and which he is afraid will change their feelings about him.

In this stirring documentary, Amin’s tale is told through animation that pictorially recreates his experiences, with the aid of live-action news footage interspersed here and there to set the action within familiar time frames and emphasize the real lives that are behind this magnificently tragic tale. This particular project, though, isn’t just to write down the bullet points of his life, it’s to set the record straight on Amin’s past and what sacrifices he had to make in order to just make it out of a dangerous situation alive.

Beautifully animated and expertly written, this film focuses solely on its narrative and moves through each stage of Amin’s journey swiftly, emphasizing the heartbreaking tragedy inherent in his tale all the more so by never trying too hard to focus on it.

Academy Award Nominations: Best International Feature Film; Best Documentary Feature; Best Animated Feature

Critics Choice Award Nominations: Best Animated Feature; Best Foreign Language Film

Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Animated Feature

European Film Awards: Best European Documentary; Best European Animated Feature; University Film Award

Toronto International Film Festival: 2021

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