Leaving a home behind collapses a set of connections to the world; for the refugee, who cannot return, it means to watch those connections disappear without the power to renew them or prevent their distortion by memory. Amin Nawabi, the pseudonymous subject of Flee, recounts his family’s forced departure from Kabul, their fearful year shut in a small apartment in Russia waiting for paperwork and permissions, and their eventual dispersal across Europe. He also says the diary where he first documented what happened to him is written in Dari, a language he now only barely recollects.
Flee, then, is not strictly Amin’s story. Instead, it is a moving attempt by filmmaker Jonas Poher Rasmussen (a longtime friend of Amin’s) to understand how the incomplete nature of this story affects Amin’s daily life. Rasmussen keeps a respectful distance, abstracting, contextualizing, and illustrating Amin’s story—a gentle response that makes plain the long, harsh cost of the assaults imperial powers have waged against Afghanistan since the Soviet-Afghan war of Amin’s childhood.
An intimate portrait of the lasting traumas of displacement and one of the most humane films of the year.
Jen Yamamato, LA Times
Flee morphs from a tale of dispossession to a testament to the power of narrative – to overtake a life, and to liberate it.
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Daniel Karimyar, Fardin Mijdzadeh, Milad Eskandari, Belal Faiz, Elaha Faiz, Zahra Mehrwarz, Sadia Faiz
In English, Danish, Russian, Dari and Swedish with English subtitles
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary, Sundance 2021
Riz Ahmed, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Danny Gabai, Natalie Farrey, Jannat Gargi, Hayley Pappas, Matt Ippolito, Philippa Kowarsky
Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen
Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Amin Nawabi
Janus Billeskov Jansen