February 08, 2022
This extraordinary tale of the desperate lengths a gay Afghan man was forced to go to in order to escape persecution is a powerful testament to human endurance
Flee review – fantastically moving story of a refugee’s life-saving secret
This animated documentary from Danish film-maker Jonas Poher Rasmussen is an irresistibly moving and engrossing story, whose emotional implications we can see being absorbed into the minds of the director and his subject, almost in real time. Rasmussen’s elegant digital animation, interspersed with live-action archive TV footage, makes for a seamless link between the present and the remembered past and provides an ingenious way of obscuring the subject’s identity, which still has to be kept under wraps.
Rasmussen talks to a friend of his from teen years, a gay Afghan man in Copenhagen, whom he names “Amin”, and who escaped from Kabul with what remained of his family after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, his dissident father having been arrested and murdered in prison by mujahideen forces. Amin opens up about memories he has suppressed for decades: how his family went to Moscow on a tourist visa, which they outstayed, hiding in a rented flat; how his elder brother and two sisters were trafficked to Sweden on a container ship with inadequate food, water and air; and how he, with his mother, was forced to make a separate terrifying trip across Russia, and then board a tiny, leaky boat across the Baltic.
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