MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Flee - Streaming on Hulu and Video on Demand ($2.99 - $5.99); Blu-Ray release on March 1, 2022
An Animated Feature Documentary directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen
In Danish and other languages, with subtitles
When Jonas Rasmussen was a teenager in Denmark, he became close friends with a cool kid from another country. Over time, he learned that his pal was a refugee from Afghanistan. But his friend didn’t talk much about his journey and was not interested in sharing his story with the world. Twenty years later, he was ready to begin remembering, but still didn’t feel completely safe in Denmark, a country divided over receptivity for asylum seekers. A safety net was created by giving him the pseudonym of Amir and then animating the story. Rasmussen had Amir close his eyes and use his imagination to come up with the memories and images that would be later researched and used in the film.
The interviews excerpted in Flee were compiled over a four-year period. We hear Amir’s voice combined with actors playing other parts. The movie also includes documentary footage and news coverage.
Amir’s family lived in Kabul. His father was a military officer and Amir was the youngest of five children. When the Afghan Mujahedeen are victorious in the Soviet-Afghan War, Amir’s father is arrested and his older brother (fortunately) escapes being conscripted into the army. Another brother has fled the country and is living in Sweden. Soon, a long process to get the entire family out of Afghanistan begins.
The entire saga is told through Amir’s recollections, so we have the satisfaction of knowing that our narrator survived the ordeal. But the aftershocks of trauma last for an entire lifetime.
There is another liberation that enters into the story, but I would rather have you experience it for yourselves than explain it here. But late in the movie, when we hear Amir’s joyful laughter on the soundtrack, we encounter the healing power of love.
I have long held the belief that when Christians choose to keep our distance from a topic, we discuss issues; when we want to be in relationship with a topic, we talk about persons we know. In Jesus Christ, God gives love a name, so that we might see the face of God in all persons.
I encourage you to spend 90 minutes to watch Flee and then the rest of your life to consider how our faith community might provide a safe haven to those fleeing oppression of every kind.
Halo and Pitchfork Rating:
Five halos: A compassionate and caring account of hard-won liberation.
Four pitchforks: Corruption; human trafficking; brief scenes of death and warfare.
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Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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