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“When you’re good at something, time disappears”: Composer Uno Helmersson on Flee

Uno Helmersson Flee Interview Podcast

On Right on Cue, Editor-in-Chief Clint Worthington talks to film, TV, and video game composers about the origins and nuances of their latest works, along with commentaries on the score’s most important tracks.

Refugee narratives are a common subject in documentary filmmaking, especially in the last few years (Human Flow, Simple as Water). But Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s Flee is something unique. Telling the story of one of Jonas’ childhood friends, a gay Afghan refugee named Amin, Flee charts its subject’s childhood in Afghanistan and the circumstances by which he had to leave (the violence and squalor of the Afghan Civil War in the ’80s and ’90s). Fleeing to Denmark without the rest of his family, he was left all alone to figure himself out – not just his sexuality, but his identity as well.  

Told in striking, minimalist animation, both depicting interview segments with Amin and dramatized tales of his past, Flee feels like a hazy recollection of a traumatic history, both of the Middle East and its protagonist. But for all its applicability to real-world politics, its scope remains deeply personal – how seismic global events rippled throughout Amin’s life, and looking wistfully at how they made him the man he is today.  

Equally evocative as the animation is the score, courtesy of prolific Swedish composer and multi-instrumentalist Uno Helmersson. Experimental and unobtrusive, yet completely in line with its subject’s interiority, Uno’s dense, layered cues float around the film’s periphery to lend voice to things Amin leaves unsaid — about himself, about his love life, and so much more.  

Uno Helmersson joins us to talk about his uniquely layered approach to scoring Flee, and his lifetime of work in film and television music.  

You can find Uno Helmersson at his official website here.

Flee is currently available in theaters. You can also listen to the score for Flee on your preferred music streaming service courtesy of Milan Records.

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Clint Worthington

Clint Worthington is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Spool, as well as one of the founders of the website/podcast Alcohollywood in 2011. He is also a Senior Writer at Consequence of Sound, as well as the co-host/producer of Travolta/Cage. You can also find his freelance work at IndieWire, UPROXX, Syfy Wire, The Takeout, and Crooked Marquee.

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