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The Crack Magazine

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Flee

Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen

Stars: Amin Nawabi, Daniel Karimyar, Fardin Mijdzadeh

This bold and original animation documents the refugee experience via the experience of one Afghan immigrant. It’s based on (and features in voiceover) recorded interviews the Danish director Rasmussen conducted with an academic called Amin (the name has been changed) where he quizzed his subject about his troubled history. The interviews took place just prior to Amin finally making a commitment and moving in with his Danish partner. Flashbacks indicate that Amin was initially a seemingly carefree child and we see him in 1984 happily skipping through the streets of Kabul dressed in his sister’s dressing gown while listening to A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’ on his Walkman. His nascent homosexuality doesn’t seem to be as big an issue as one might have anticipated in a country where there wasn’t even a word for ‘gay’. When the Mujahideen seize control, Amin has to leave and embarks on a long and fraught route to his eventual destination Denmark, his odyssey also taking in a stop-off in an uninviting Russia. Amin turns out to be an unreliable narrator rendering this account an investigation into the nature of identity itself, while keeping the central figure at a frustrating distance. The animation is redolent of Richard Linklater’s trippy ‘Waking Life’ as well as ‘Waltz with Bahir’, the latter another picture which dealt with trauma and memory. The visuals occasionally tend toward the bland, but there are some undeniably horrifying effective passages illustrating Amin’s dangerous journey, alongside some witty flourishes, such as a homoerotic fantasy sequence involving a Jean-Claude Van Damme poster on the young Amin’s wall.  

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