Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Talent: Amin Nawabi (a pseudonym)
Released: February 11th
Over the course of eight years, director Jonas Poher Rasmussen interviewed his best friend of 25 years, known only as Amin. His life story, told for the very first time to anyone, stripped of all its previous subterfuge, is the focus of this animated documentary.
As an Afghanistan refugee, Amin fled his homeland as the Taliban started pouring into Kabul in the 1980s. At the age of 15 he and his family travelled from his homeland to Denmark via Russia, leaving behind an imprisoned father.
Flee has all the thrills, tension and strife that would have made a spectacular mini-series or feature film. Amin’s journey, both the physical one and the one inside him seeking his true self, is long and arduous and takes several years, featuring a cast of merciless and predatory characters, but there’s more than enough heart here to carry the weight. You can feel yourself willing these characters on to succeed each step of the way.
The decision to make an animated documentary protects the protagonists, and it works all the better for it. It looks great and allows artistic flourishes of a dreamlike quality.
Flashbacks are a nightmarish swirl of colours that evade any glamourization and, on a very basic human level, the animation allows us to approach extremely traumatic topics with relative comfort and distance.
A small film with the possibility to make a huge impact, this is a harrowing tale, one both timely and urgent.
Words: Shane O’Reilly