Flee is an animated documentary telling the story of Amin, a man who fled to Denmark from Afghanistan as an unaccompanied minor. On the verge of marriage at 36, he finally feels comfortable enough to share his full story, coming to terms with his past in order to forge a new future.
Amin’s story is told with a mixture of archival footage and animation, the multimedia approach helping to represent the complex layers of the refugee’s life. Flee’s artwork is truly breathtaking, with beautiful backgrounds and a distinctive sketchy and choppy style to its lines that does a fantastic job at drawing its audience even deeper into the story. The quality of the animation lends a degree of tenderness and intimacy, imbuing the piece with a great deal of emotion, and facilitating and representing the depth of Amin’s catharsis.
The animation style also shifts with the narrative, changing to suit its complex needs. When discussing moments of great trauma, the meticulous and stylised backdrops give way to rougher, more abstract visuals, which perfectly illustrate the raw emotions at the heart of Amin’s story and the pain associated with these memories.
As can be expected from the testimony of a refugee, Flee’s story is often a harrowing one. The protagonist’s life is marked with heartache, from the trauma of fleeing to the pain of being separated from loved ones, as well as the internal strife of being gay in a culture that doesn’t even have a word for it. But while the film represents the worst of humanity with painful accuracy, it is also a tale of humanity – of family, of friendship and of the transcendent power of love.
Flee is beautiful and touching, a wonderful tribute from Jonas Poher Rasmussen to his friend that gives his tale the justice it deserves. Gorgeously and tenderly drawn, making phenomenal use of animation as a medium, this is a powerful and emotional exploration of one man’s trauma, but also a testament to humanity as a whole that is sure to stay with audiences for a long time.
Flee is released in select cinemas on 3rd December 2021.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2021 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Flee here: