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The Freethinker


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Frequently Bought Together

The Freethinker + La Commune (Paris 1871) (3pc) (Coll Sub B&W) + The Cinema of Peter Watkins 5-DISC BOX SET
Price for all three: $102.47

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Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • Directors: Peter Watkins
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Swedish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Yorker Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 6, 2007
  • Run Time: 274 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000Q7ZO58
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,486 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Freethinker" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This 2-disc DVD set is the first commercial release of Peter Watkins ambitious and complex companion-piece to his highly acclaimed EDVARD MUNCH.
THE FREETHINKER examines the life, art and times of August Strindberg, author of Miss Julie, Inferno and The Dance Of Death, depicting the notorious Swedish dramatist as a rebel, an idealistic and controversial iconoclast who openly criticized the hypocrisy of 19th century society.


Includes 16-page collector s
booklet featuring writings by
Peter Watkins

Amazon.com

The fiercely independent journey of English filmmaker Peter Watkins--which includes the devastating 1966 Oscar-winner, The War Game--hit an important milestone with The Freethinker, a 274-minute documentary portrait of the life of playwright August Strindberg. The topic of the movie is inextricable from its method of production: for two years, beginning in 1992, Watkins created the film in a communal collaboration with students in a video production course he was teaching at the Swedish Folk High School, outside Stockholm. They collaborated on everything from script to costumes, using nothing but the school's modest video equipment, and improvised many sections based on Watkins' research. Even more importantly, The Freethinker was conceived as the opposite of a conventional movie (a form Watkins has long railed against), and a rebuke to cinema storytelling and audience expectations. Thus, the movie unfolds in slow, non-chronological scenes, broken up by intertitles; sometimes the actors playing Strindberg and his wife Siri step out of character to comment on the characters they are playing. The movie also incorporates scenes of ordinary people discussing issues the film raises (these were visitors to the set, talking amongst themselves), which, as Watkins writes in a note included in the DVD's package, is a way the movie can "decentralize its own power structure as it progresses" as well as demonstrate "one of the many ways in which the media of the future could share power with the public." In other words, banish all thoughts of a Masterpiece Theatre approach to Great Writers; this is an experimental essay film, as fascinating as it is confounding. One comes away from it with the sense that there is much more to know about Strindberg than is included here, but stimulated nonetheless about the role of an artist/cultural critic/freethinker in society. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tom V. V. Tammi on January 17, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For anyone interested in Strindberg and the world of Stockholm he lived in, this is a treasure. It weaves a theatrical and historical documentary style with great skill.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sindri on July 22, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
English screenwriter, film editor and director Peter Watkins` documentary drama which he wrote with additional ideas from students at the Nordens Folk High School in Biskops-Arnö, Stockholm in Sweden, is based on a screenplay he wrote in 1979-1981. It premiered in Sweden, was banned from TV in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, was filmed at the Orion Theatre in Stockholm and is a Swedish production which was produced by the rector at the NFHS Birgitta Östlund. It tells the story about a Swedish man, playwright, son, brother, husband and father named August Strindberg who was born in the winter of 1849 in Stockholm, Sweden and raised in a cultured and pietistic Christian home by his mother, a former serving girl named Ulrika Eleonora Norling who gave birth to eleven children and who was the housekeeper and mistress of his father, a commissioner for a steamboat company, named Carl Oscar Strindberg before they were married. A Finnish woman, mother, wife, Baroness and only child named Siri von Essen who was born in the autumn of 1850 in Borgå, Finland and raised in an aristocratic home by her mother named Elisabet Charlotta In de Betou and her father named Karl Reinhold von Essen, whom August Strindberg met as a 26-year-old author and assistant at the Royal Library in Stockholm in 1875 where he studied the origins of the Chinese language after previously having worked as a journalist, and who would become an unprecedented woman in his life, the inspiration for some of his autobiographical books and the mother of some of his children.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Hedvig Blidberg on September 27, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Twenty years ago I was one in the team of sixteen who made the Freethinker. Peter Watkins had written the script, an enormous piece of work, which we together with him rewrote, developed, shot and cut in to a four hours long videofilm. We were living at Biskops-Arnös Folkhighschool and had an extremely slim budget.

After more than a year of massiv work we had hundred hours of material. Many dropped out a long the process. The project was controversial, plenty of people in the Swedish cultural establishment wanted us to fail and the amount of stress was substantial. But after two years of hard work, six of the sixteen reached the goal and the film had its Swedish opening 1994.

I was surprised when I found the Freethinker on Amazon - it is going to be exciting to see the film again after all these years. Interesting to see if I feel it was worth it - those 48 months of my life I gave to Strindberg and the Freethinker.

Hedvig Blidberg.
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