Q&A with ‘Flee’ director

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  • Directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen on Escape
  • A castle for Christmas stick to the holiday movie recipe

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amine on the run

Flee / Neon

‘Flee’ director about bringing his friend’s story to life

Escape, the latest documentary by Danish director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, is a extraordinary movie. Focus on Rasmussen’s friend Amin (a pseudonym) as he is about to make some changes in his life, Escape is a clear look at a refugee’s story of how he fled Afghanistan as a young boy and the sacrifices his family made during Amin’s years in Denmark.

It’s also Amin’s journey about accepting himself as a gay man and his struggle to feel at home again decades after living through the pain of losing his home. Animation of the movie allowed Rasmussen and his team to visualize parts of Amin’s story where none of the scenes existed, and protect Amin’s identity. The story highlights the everyday cruelty that refugees face on a daily basis as well as some of the more lighthearted moments that occur during that time.

I sat down with Rasmussen a few months ago to learn more about what brings Amin’s story to life, the voiceover of an animated documentary, and the limitless ceiling of animation. Escape now out in limited release.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Daily Dot: You’ve mentioned some practical reasons to tell Amin’s story in cartoons in past interviews. What else about the medium appeals to you?

Jonas Poher Rasmussen: I’ve always loved animation, and animation, to me, is something of a miracle and anything is possible. If you want to go to the moon, you can do it. It’s really a story of memory and trauma that we think animation could be more expressive of. Somehow it feels more honest because Amir is thinking it over again and I will never be able to recreate exactly what happened. Because we can be more expressive, it somehow feels more authentic.

Technically, what challenges did you face when implementing? Escape that you didn’t expect?

It’s quite a steep learning curve because i have never done animation before. So at the beginning we did some tests first and then I said, ‘But can we change this?’ They were like, ‘No. We’re done with the animation, so it’s too late now. ‘ You need to be really, really precise about what you want and what it’s going to look like in the first place.

It’s a bit of a contrast to the process of making documentaries and real-life fiction because normally, you shoot and then go into the editing room and then you become a slave to the material you bring home.

So in the editing room we have quite a bit of flexibility and freedom to be really precise in framing the exact frames we want and having the exact shots we want. It’s really a great experience as it gives a lot of freedom in the editing room.

Regarding the current scenes, how much have you been able to set up and capture? Are those scenes realistic?

We used real footage as a reference for the visual style but also to see the difference in how we handle the camera when Amir talks about his past and in the present scenes where I Better to be behind the camera. There are jumps and all of these in series these days. And that was very intentional because we wanted it to feel authentic.

You can understand it right from the start Escape when you’re trying to arrange and stage your first interview with Amin, which you see in so many other documentaries. And it tells everyone that Escape is a documentary if they go in without that knowledge.

We wanted that from the start because it’s important for people to understand that Amin is the real person behind the animation.

The Q&A section continues below.

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Animated documentaries not completely unheard of; Waltz with Bashir is one of the famous in the genre. Is there a documentary or movie that you look forward to helping you tell this story responsibly?

Waltz with Bashir is the big jewel crowned in the animated documentary, and of course, I looked at that gem. That also deals with trauma in the same way as Escape do. Of course, Persepolis It’s also a documentary, but it’s more of a cartoon and it’s acted out.

But there are these Swedish short films. A person called Hide and it’s about legal immigrants in Sweden who hide themselves, and just this kid talking about all the things he can’t do. So I can see there you can use animation to make anonymous.

But on the other hand, for the film’s visual style, it’s actually gearing more toward different visual artists: Edward Hopper, Ricky Metzger. We’ve got a bunch of animated short films to serve as references for the more graphic scenes in the movie.

Amin’s story in Escape covers several decades and has dozens of speaking sections, including Amin of several different ages. How do you go about casting something like this?

It was difficult because we don’t have many Afghan actors in Denmark who speak both Danish and Dari. So it’s really going into the Afghan communities in Denmark and looking for people who are willing to act. A lot of them have had stories similar to Amir’s and really feel committed to telling the story.

Because this is a documentary, I really think it’s helpful not to have actors who have been through school, who use their own experiences and their own voices in the film.

When Escape When it first premiered at Sundance, it connected with audiences, and in the months since, it’s resonated even more. What changes do you hope for changes in the way we talk about refugees or the way the refugee crisis is covered?

I really hope that this film will give a human face to refugees because there are more than 80 million people who are refugees right now. Hopefully people will see – this is not a mass of 80 million people; 80 million individuals all have different stories.

How did you balance the different tones — it’s a story about refugees but also about Amin’s journey toward self-acceptance as a gay man — throughout the film?

I think [the different tones] a lot comes from the friendship aspect of it because the way we talk to each other, has a certain tone. We’re serious, of course, but we’re friends too, and we can be silly. But also because he’s been on the run for five years, and it’s not all terrible, you know? He also has tender moments with his family; He also has a crush on a guy in the back of a truck. He had a pressing sense of security. I think these things make us related to one person. I think something happens when you’re with a character in a movie: If you have a moment where you can laugh with them, that opens things up because all of a sudden, you’re attached in a certain way. Different ways.

—Michelle Jaworski, editor

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brooke shields riding bicycles in the castle at christmas

Mark Mainz / Netflix

A castle for Christmas don’t go far from the holiday movie we know

A castle for Christmas according to a formula that has Be a role model for holiday movie streaming. A successful woman in New York City (in this case, Brooke Shields, playing a successful novelist) travels to a smaller town (in this case, a village in Scotland where he lives). her live). The villagers taught her about community and a slower way of life. They also taught her how to knit and thread the bomb—one of the best parts of the movie. Inevitably, she falls in love with the owner of an ancient castle (Princess Brideby Cary Elwes), and two of them participate in super cute holiday activities.

Does it work? Sometimes. The great appeal of A castle for Christmas that’s it adding a castle to the tried-and-true holiday movie plot, popular on the Hallmark channel. A lot of the movies are silly and unbelievable, just as fans protested because Shields’ novelist killed a fictional protagonist in her latest book. But it’s also a cozy movie, a movie Best paired with hot drinks and blankets. At times, the romance feels forced and the character growth is scant. But the movie has the best knit cardigan I’ve ever seen. Apparently, Shields was some knitting experience before she was in the movie and enjoyed that aspect of it. I’m choosing to watch A castle for Christmas like a movie interwoven on a generic rom-com.

Tiffany Kelly, culture editor

Now playing: “Burning Down the House” by Talking Heads

https://www.dailydot.com/unclick/streaming-newsletter-flee-jonas-poher-rasmussen-a-castle-for-christmas/ Q&A with ‘Flee’ director

Mike Sullivan

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