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Flee–A Flight to Hell and Back

 Flee (2021), a  Danish adult animated/documentary film, is a highly original amalgam of  the flat-graphic style of animation and archival footage of the conflict in Afghanistan from the mid-80’s until the present.  Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal” and “The Night Of”) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (“Headhunters” and Jamie Lannister of “Game of Thrones”) are the executive producers.

The true story of Amin Nawabi (an alias), follows his journey from a nine-year old boy through his adulthood. The story is a conversation with a therapist recording his harrowing experience as an Afghan refugee fleeing with his older brother and mother. In the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of 1989, we see Amin, his mother and his brother escape under horrific conditions to Russia, the only country in the world issuing visas to Afghans at the time.  Nonetheless, they illegally get trafficked into Moscow.

Amir has been living a secret life in Denmark for over twenty years.  Due to the exigencies of the asylum processing of young children, Amin’s traumatic escape from Russia to Denmark costs him extreme grief at the separation from his family. Told primarily through animation in a series of flashback scenes, Flee is a stunning therapeutic release of pain and agony from the adult Amin in acknowledging what he has sacrificed.

Deeply affecting and moving, the multiple award-winning Flee is a gut-wrenching dissection not only of the lives of refugees and the extreme risks they repeatedly undertake to find safety, but it is also a testimony to the difficulty in rediscovering and rekindling trust in other human beings after that trust has been broken for so long.  In the case of Amin, it is to open up to Kasper, his husband-to-be, about his unhealed wounds.

Availability:  Hulu

Note:  Flee was selected as the Danish entry for the Academy Award ths year in three major categories simultaneously:  Best International Feature Film, Best Documentary film, and Best Animated Feature.

Note:  Parasite director, Bong Joon-ho, considers Flee one of his favorite films of 2021 and BBC listed Flee as one of the top 20 films of 2021 as well. 

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