Culture / Society

“The term refugee is not an identity”: Jonas Poher Rasmussen on his Oscar-nominated film 'Flykt'

By Sanna Posti Sjöman

Photo: Courtesy of Jonas Poher Rasmussen and Amin

The captivating Danish docudrama Flykt (Flee) was making a big buzz in the world of the Oscars with its triple nominations. But how does a filmmaker find room to rejoice in a world on fire? That is the real question on filmmaker Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s mind

“It is surreal being in the middle of all the glitz and glamour while feeling like the world is burning,” says Jonas Poher Rasmussen. It is obvious that the filmmaker is harbouring ambiguous feelings about his success amid current events. “With everything going on in Ukraine and also in Afghanistan...I guess it makes it even more meaningful to spotlight refugee narratives and give human faces to refugee stories,” he says on his Oscar-nominated short film Flee.


Flee starts as a sunny childhood depiction, sprinkled with the type of kitchen sink realism recognizable to anyone growing up in the 80s: siblings quarrelling in their teen rooms to the soundtrack of A-ha’s ‘Take on me’ and Jean-Claude Van Damme doing round kicks on posters plastered on the walls. But in the crossroads of becoming yet another coming-of-age flick, Flee suddenly takes a dark turn, as the mujahideen takes control of Afghanistan, forcing the young protagonist Amin Nawabi and his family on the run.