Flee (Flugt) is an animated documentary about Amin Nawabi, a gay Afghan refugee who ends up in Denmark and is forced to live with a fake narrative about his life that a surprisingly helpful human trafficker concocts to prevent him from being deported.

Amin, as an adult, relates the story of his life, beginning in childhood when his father is taken away by the pro-communist Afghan government and never seen again. Then the Mujaheddin, the Taliban, take power in Afghanistan and the situation gets even worse. Amin, his mother and his siblings fly to Moscow, where, persecuted by drunken, corrupt police, their lives do not improve. With the help of an older brother who fled early to Sweden, Amin and his family pay cruel human smugglers who get them as far as a boat on the Baltic Sea. They are spotted by a Norwegian cruise ship that turns them over to Estonian authorities, and they end up back in Moscow.

Eventually, Amin uses his fake life story, claiming that he is the sole survivor of his family (his brother and two sisters are really alive in Sweden), and he is accepted as a refugee in Denmark. Amin finds a loving partner, Kasper, and develops a successful academic career. But he has trouble telling anyone, even Kasper, his true life story.

Flee is not the first animated documentary to be nominated for an Academy Award in the International Category. Anyone interested in this unusual genre should check out the powerful Israeli animated documentary Waltz with Bashir.

Another autobiographical film dealing with a refugee’s traumatic attempt to reach Europe is the Iraqi film Europa.