Release year: 2004
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Acclaimed British filmmaker Peter Watkins collaborates with twenty-four students from the Swedish Folk High School in Biskops-Arno to craft this highly unconventional look at the life of controversial 19th Century dramatist August Stindberg.
An iconoclast who flouted the conventions of then-contemporary society to promote political and social change, Stindberg and his freethinking followers were considered outcasts whose revolutionary ideas posed a great danger to the standards of society.
By purposefully structuring his film in a carefully layered, spiral manner, director Watkins aims to reflect the filmmaker's admitted concern over the influence of mass media while simultaneously suggesting ways in which that same media might share its unique power with the people in the not-so-distant future.
In a curious call back to the subject of the film, The Freethinker was initially boycotted by Swedish television.