Flee tells the extraordinary true story of a man, Amin, on the verge of a marriage which compels him to reveal his hidden past for the first time. This secret that he has been hiding for over twenty years threatens to ruin the life he has built for himself. He recounts his dramatic journey as a child refugee from Afghanistan to Denmark. Told mostly through animation, Flee weaves together a tapestry of images and memories to tell the deeply affecting and original story of a young man, grappling with his traumatic past in order to find his true self and the meaning of home.
Nordic Jury's motivation: It is not often that aesthetic, political and humane dimensions combine in a such sublime and artistic piece of film as in Flee. In this animated documentary, the director´s childhood friend, Amin, tells for the first time his dramatic story of being both homosexual and a child refugee from Afghanistan, at a time in which he faces a major turning point in his life: getting married.
Flee asks concrete and shivering questions as part of our contemporary migration debate, while simultaneously making it easy for the viewer to see themselves in Amin’s relatable, existential uncertainties, which the film supports with a well-thought-through and sometimes humorous flair for detail and setting.
The animation brilliantly resolves the two practical difficulties with anonymity and lack of physical imagery. The stylish execution delivers a soulful experience, from the depiction of the happy upbringing in Afghanistan, to the vicious flee to Europe. He ends up in Denmark and tries to find safety and a home.
We find that Flee tells a necessary, relevant and touching story about how all people, regardless of their ethnicity, background, age or sexual orientation, have the right to a happy childhood and a safe place to call home. The film was created before many people in Afghanistan recently had to flee from civil war and its relevance has only increased in the wake of these events. But the director manages to not become self-pitying or sentimental in their way of storytelling.
At Sundance, it won the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Documentary category, while at the Annecy International Animation Festival it won Best Feature Film. The film is expected to enjoy much international success in the coming year. The adjudication committee of the Nordic Council Film Prize think this is fully deserved. We therefore unanimously agree that we want to award Flee the 2021 Nordic Council Film Prize.
Nordic Jury members: Heidi Hilarius-Kalkau Philipsen, Mikaela Westerlund, Jóna Finnsdóttir, Inger Merete Hobbelstad
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National Jury's motivation: It is rare that the aesthetic, political, and human dimensions merge into such a sublimely artistic whole as in Flee. In the animated documentary film, the director’s childhood friend, Amin, tells for the first time his dramatic story as a homosexual refugee from Afghanistan at a time when he is facing a major turning point in his life in Denmark: He is getting married.
The film plots a concrete, soul-shattering fate for the refugee debate of the time, but also enables the viewer to easily get acquainted with Amin’s general and existential doubts, which the film uncovers with a delicate and at times funny sense of details and moods.
The animation brilliantly solves two practical challenges of anonymity and lack of visual material. The stylish execution both elevates the narrative to a sensuous experience, from the depiction of a happy childhood in Afghanistan to the brutal fleeing to Europe.
Flee tells a pertinent, relevant, and touching story that all people, regardless of their ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation, deserve a happy childhood and a safe country to live in.