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The Freethinker
Length:276 min
Cast:Anders Mattsson and Lena Settervall
Credits:Directed by Peter Watkins.

Synopsis: August Stindberg and the "Young Sweden" group that surrounded him were iconoclasts, free thinkers and outsiders who flouted rules and order. They railed against convention and hypocrisy in an attempt to change the social, political and economic mores of 19th century society. Because he too faced censorship and misunderstanding, it took Peter Watkins almost twenty years to complete THE FREETHINKER, his unconventional epic biography of Stindberg.

Watkins presents complex and rich sense of Stindberg's life. Vital to the film's construction is its unusual narrative form: an untraditional, deeply layered and shifting arrangement of sequences, carefully designed to subvert the manipulative convention of mass-media drama in an attempt to "open up space for the audience," allowing us time to enter and query what we are seeing. Equally significant, THE FREETHINKER was produced as a two year collaboration between Peter Watkins and twenty-four students from the Sweedish Folk High School in Biskops-Arno, an achievement arguably unparallelled in the history of cinema.

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