‘Flee’ is a true heart-wrenching story that gives an insight into the life of Amin Nawabi, an academic refugee in Denmark. Narrated in a non-linear manner the documentary tells us how in the mid-1980s, as a minor, Amin escaped from war-torn Afghanistan to Russia and then, after a few attempts to Europe, ultimately succeeded in settling in Denmark.
His journey details his extraordinary tale of endurance as a child refugee forced to flee violent conflict. It also encapsulates how, now on the cusp of marriage, he must confront his internal struggles as he tries to find his place in the world and his journey to a new life. He tells us how his hidden past threatened to ruin the life he created and why his family is very important to him.
Using a mixture of archival footage and animation this documentary has all the tropes of a human interest story: From personal details of having to mature way too fast while also having to come to terms with his sexuality in a culture that is not supportive, to the general scenario of corruption in Russia, to human trafficking and inhumane conditions the refugees are forced to suffer for a chance of a better life, the film does not skimp on the intense details of Amin’s journey.
The narrative not only delves into the first-hand experiences of Amin but also explores how the media treats refugees, doing nothing except broadcast their struggles for the world to watch. Thus, it gives those who may not be familiar with the issues and struggles that surround refugees a chance to see just how difficult it can be in order to be safe. It paints a portrait of life many of us will never experience.
Keeping with the subject the visuals boast of a sober palette of earthy colours. The 2 D animation is simple yet effective. The few archival images break the monotony of the computer-generated images as they seamlessly integrate into the telling.
Using a moderate tone, Riz Ahmed, the British actor and rapper of Pakistani origin lends his voice to the English version of this film. It elevates the sensitivity and genuineness of the subject.
Overall, with its unique presentation, this docudrama is powerfully evocative and is worth a watch.
Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Voice Cast: Riz Ahmed
Streaming on: ZEE5
Duration: 85 minutes
–By Troy Ribeiro