Film Review – Flee

Flee (M)

Directed by: Jonas Poher Rasmussen

Starring: Anonymous, Jonas Poher Rasmussen

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

The harrowing experiences of a refugee from Afghanistan who remains anonymous is brought beautifully to life using animation and some archival footage.

A homosexual male academic in his mid-30s living in Denmark has a dark and long kept secret that he has been living with since he was a teenager.

His experience and holding it a secret has impacted his relationships throughout his life and now that he has met the man he wants to marry, settle down and buy a house with, it threatens to come between them – how can he spend his life with someone who doesn’t truly know him?

He tells his story to long time friend and documentation Jonas Poher Rasmussen, who protects his subject’s identity – his name is changed and physical appearance obscured by the use of animation.

Amin (named so for the purpose of the documentary) and his family escaped Afghanistan when he was a child. Already dealing with his burgeoning sexuality, something that could have had him killed in his home country, Amin and his family endured years of living illegally in other countries with almost no money, corrupt authorities and hellish conditions in attempts to make a new, freer life.

Usually not being able to know a subject’s real name or even see their face can prove to be a real hurdle in allowing an audience to connect to their story, but Poher Rasmussen’s inventive storytelling techniques get around this so effortlessly. This documentary seems so simple on the surface and yet becomes one of the most complex ever made.

Amin’s story is so vivid and harrowing, to the point of being almost unbearable at times, but is such an important one that needs to be told. This is definitely only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the refugee experience.

Flee is a remarkable achievement in storytelling that needs to be seen by everyone.

Flee is screening as part of Perth Festival Lotterywest Films.

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