Mr. Freedom (1969) William Klein – Anti-Imperialist Satirical Farce | SeMeN SPeRmS SuPeR SiTe

Mr. Freedom (1969) William Klein – Anti-Imperialist Satirical Farce

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Mr. Freedom is a 1969 film by the expatriate American photographer and filmmaker William Klein. Starring the popular French actor Delphine Seyrig, this anti-imperialist satirical farce has cameos by the well-known actors Donald Pleasence and Philippe Noiret, as well as the musician Serge Gainsbourg.

Mr. Freedom William Klein

Like his previous film, Who Are You, Polly Magoo?, and reminiscent of the feel of much of Zazie in the Metro, in which Klein is credited as artistic consultant, Mr. Freedom features absurd characters, comical costuming, and exaggeration. The title character’s uniform is an odd assemblage of discarded football gear, face paint, and hockey gloves. The United States Embassy is a department store run by skipping models in spandex, proffering right-wing mercenaries and “Freedom Kits” of high-tech weaponry. Freedom training sessions are Dantian visions of rape and sadism. Every scene aims for the absurd, reaching both for comedic effect and political statement.

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Filmed at the height of the Vietnam War and concurrently with the radical political upheaval of 1968 France, Mr. Freedom is a political farce, clearly sympathizing with national liberation and left wing movements. The title character, a stand-in for U.S. political and economic might, is a crude, cruel buffoon in the service of corporations. His rhetoric of freedom stands in cold relief to his actions, which are anything but democratic. The politics get a bit muddled with the characters of Mujick Man, Red China Man, and the FAF, but they would seem to be stand-ins for the Soviet Union, communist China, and the radical milieu of the 1968 uprisings, respectively. Mr. Freedom makes numerous left wing statements on the Cold War, and more specifically, the Vietnam War.

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