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TIFF 2021: “Flee”


Rating: 4 out of 5.

In the Western world, refugees are being judged, misunderstood and rejected. No one even wants to ask them one simple question – what forced them to flee their country? But if we exercise our patience and address their concerns properly, maybe we could get an answer that can help us be more tolerant of those who some of us think should not be on our soil.

“Flee” tells the story of Amin, an Afghani man who fleed his country when he was a child. With his parents and siblings murdered and miraculously avoiding his own death, he runs to Russia where he stayed illegally until he ends up in Copenhagen. His journey was not easy; it was fraught with risk, danger and the fear of being persecuted. Told through beautiful animation, and breaking all the rules of documentaries, director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, bounded by the promise he made to his friend and documentary subject, narrates it in such a way that it explains all the psychological sufferings Amin went through till he found a place to call home.

As per the agreement, we will never know the true identity of Amin to protect himself, and rightfully so. As he shares his journey of traveling from Russia to Sweden on a boat, that scene alone, despite being animated, is scary enough to picture what a little boy and his family members had to embark on, before defeating death. It’s remarkable in a way as you listen to what he shares. Because his story of survival is the story of most refugees. Luckily, this film takes the right approach for the audience to sympathize, understand and, perhaps, change their own opinion on refugees overall.

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