An gloriously animated doc about a refuge with a hard childhood.

We meet Amin, a refugee from Kabul, Afghanistan, who is interviewed about his life. He talks about family, politics, and his homosexuality. His moderator-writer/director Jonas Poher Rasmussen-has him lying on a table and tells him to close his eyes, take a deep breath, and go back to his earliest memories.

“Flee” animates his story in the way that only artisan and foreign features can capture the dialogue and sounds. Traditionally animated with some live-action archival footage, there’s a strong sense of humanity and inhumanity for this particular main protagonist. It’s about what he went through, and how he deals with the aftermath of it.

When the Mujahideen seized power, his father was taken as a communist traitor and has yet to be seen again, his brother refused to go to war like all the boys, and the rest of his family had to fly to Moscow for safety, since Russia was the only country to grant them a tourist visa. His two older sisters survived a human trafficking sing, which was the only way they could get to Sweden for safety. His eldest brother had little money and a lot of work to make sure they could.

And during his stay in Moscow, Amin and his mother and brother have taken crap from one abusive Russian police after the next. They were so corrupt that they took their money so they didn’t send them back to their home country. The worst is when the two brothers have to acknowledge that those men resort to raping a girl they detained.

He has been gay ever since he was 5 or 6-years-old when he fantasized about Jean Claude Van Damme, but back then, gays were frowned upon in Afghanistan. He plans to marry his lover Kasper, whom he hasn’t told his tragedies to.

“Flee” is a movie that shows us one man’s struggles of being a refugee and a homosexual. He has to deal with one abusive Russian officer after the next, ride on nauseating boat trips, and even asking his doctor to help him fix his interests. It’s impossible for me to imagine his life, because I’m neither of those things, but I do acknowledge his reality and how he learns to thrive on it.

Riz Ahmed and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau serve as the executive producers, although we shouldn’t see the movie just because they’re involved with the project. We should see it to fathom the life and times of Amin.

Some scenes have to be obligatory like when Amin’s older brother gets mad at him for losing his kite or when his sister gets a little snippy with him, but other scenes are just riveting and dazzling. The animation is beautifully drawn and analyzed, as international features are practically the one features to keep that tradition on, unless otherwise noted, like how “Klaus” recently kept that alive.

Jonas Poher Rasmussen delivers “Flee” with a complex and detailed aspect, and even has to alter names to protect the real life figures. So, frankly, I’m not sure Amin is the main protagonist’s real name, but it’s probably for the best. This is something to behold, whether or not you admire animated features. And bare in mind, this is a movie for adults.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4.

In Select Theaters This Friday

Categories: Animation, Documentary, Foreign

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