‘Flee’ recreates the story of refugees
Refugee stories are not always obscured by our media, but they are frequently distorted, with news segments being aired and sensational dramas twirling around. the extreme oppression and abuse of migrants into entertainment for those with the right passports for us. Danish Director Jonas Poher Rasmussen avoids this trend in his latest project by infusing both of his professional mediums – documentaries and radio – with animation to allow him to remain anonymous. The resulting documentary, Escape, is both a collage about a young man struggling with revealing his past as an Afghan refugee, and a candid collaboration between longtime friends.
Rasmussen grew up with Amin (a pseudonym to protect his identity and status) in a small village in Denmark, where the latter came alone at the age of 16 and began living with an adoptive family. To reach Denmark, Amin had to endure profound suffering, and to receive refugee status he had to tell the right story.
Now, with a successful film and academic career, Rasmussen approached Amin to share his past on file. But the limits of disclosure burdened Amin for most of his life and threatened his closest relationships, especially with his understanding boyfriend, Kasper. Realizing he was gay since the age of 5, Amin kept another secret longer: He hasn’t told anyone he’s met since receiving asylum, including Kasper, about the details. particulars of his life before coming to Denmark.
Escape is an experiment in re-imagining what disclosure can do for those tasked with reliving traumatic experiences. Combining archival footage with voice acting and intricate animations depicting both Amin and Rasmussen in the present – and Amin and his close family in the past – the film eliminates the habit of gawking. Labels with many horror stories about refugees. Instead, we are asked to examine failed institutions, particularly in Russia and Europe, that exploit and ignore the most vulnerable. Rasmussen was also interested in how Amin handled or suppressed what was going on around him in a years-long effort to escape Afghanistan, then Russia, after the Taliban gained control of his country. him in the 80s.
What interests you the most? Escape not its animated sequence, but Rasmussen’s detailed and attentive recording of Amin’s vocal expressions. Despite speaking many languages, from Dari to Russian to Danish, Amin has a way of letting silence interrupt. He let his voice die, grumbling to his face in confrontation and withholding confusing information from both Rasmussen and Kasper until the last moment possible. Over time, we learn how this evasive communication style once protected him; It is in his voice that we begin to hear the past and present threatening Amin’s future, and how nonlinearly erupting time – all the hours lost, borrowed and stolen. during his arduous journey – freezing him in a restless present. That he’s willing to break that cycle to finally reveal his secrets to an old friend is a gift we’re lucky to share.
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https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2021/12/flee-review ‘Flee’ recreates the story of refugees