Combustible Celluloid
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With: Daniel Karimyar, Fardin Mijdzadeh, Milad Eskandari, Belal Faiz, Elaha Faiz, Zahra Mehrwarz, Sadia Faiz
Written by: Amin Nawabi, Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Directed by: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic content, disturbing images and strong language
Language: Danish, with English subtitles
Running Time: 90
Date: 12/17/2021

Flee (2021)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Escape Artistry

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Following in the footsteps of Waltz with Bashir, Danish writer-director Jonas Poher Rasmussen's animated documentary Flee brilliantly uses its format to enhance its recorded interview and conjure up a dramatic, harrowing, and moving story. The artwork provides a slight remove, echoing a fiction film, even though we never forget that what we're hearing is true; it's a grand improvement over a talking-head interview. The subject is called "Amin Nawabi" to protect the innocent, and he apparently told his story for the first time, ever, to Rasmussen, and it's a deeply emotional account. The story stretches from Amin's happy childhood in Afghanistan, before the mujahideen swooped in and took over, killing his family and kidnapping his sister. There are many tense, suspenseful hurdles before he finally makes it to Denmark, where he is now happily married to husband Kaspar. (It's also a touching LGBTQ+ love story.) The only drawback is that the hand-drawn animation is often distractingly amateurish, but that doesn't detract from the power of the tale.

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