Andrea’s film review – Flee

Flee ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Flee tells the extraordinary true story of a man, Amin, on the verge of marriage which compels him to reveal his hidden past for the first time. Flee comes out on 11 February. (You will also be able stream it on the Curzon website).

Who would have thought that the best film I see in months would end up being an animated documentary?

Flee tells the extraordinary story of Amin, though we are told at the start of this that in order to protect the characters some names might have been changed. He is a refugee from Afghanistan who was forced to leave in 1989 when he was just a child, together with his mother and siblings.

The film is told through of a series of very intimate interviews and recordings made by his old friend, Jonas Poher Rasmusse, also co-writer and director of the film.

“Close your eyes” Jonas asks Amin right at the beginning. Slowly memories which have been locked up for 20 years start trickling out: harrowing tales, small and poignant details, mixed with thoughts, doubts, fears and regrets.

At times it almost feels like we are listening in to some very personal sessions with Amin and his therapist. And as the stories finally come out in the open, the film beautifully visualises them with a simple but warm and evocative animation.

It is incredibly effective and after a while you forget you’re watching an animation and the power of the storytelling suck you completely.

At times this reminded me of another animated documentary from 2008, Waltz with Bashir, in which the Israeli director was using a similar technique to try to remember his own traumatic experience as soldier during the war in Lebanon.

But Flee is an even more intimate piece of work, as Amin not only talks about his harrowing experiences as a refugee, but also about his ordeal as a gay man in Afghanistan and eventually his coming out moment to his family.

It is a powerful and unforgettable coming of age story. A work of beauty, deeply touching, thoughtful, profound, constantly inventive and a real masterpiece in storytelling, joining seemingly detached tales in a coherent narrative and an emotional journey.

I have to be honest, by the end I was an absolute blubbering wreck, but it was also a rewarding watch, full of light and hope too.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

Flee comes out on 11 February. (You will also be able stream it on the Curzon website).

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