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Matthias Glasner has created an unflinching and at times brutal drama that profiles one of the most complex characters to recently come to the screen: Theo, a convicted rapist. Theo's vicious tendencies are revealed in the first few minutes of the film, as the audience witnesses him attacking an unsuspecting victim. The crime leads to Theo's incarceration in a psychiatric detention center, and after a nine-year sentence he is released into the care of a halfway house in order to begins his reintegration into society. He works hard to adjust to life on the outside, eventually acquiring a position at a print shop. It is there that he meets Nettie, the owner's daughter, with whom he forms a tenuous friendship. Abused by her father, Nettie is finally moving away from home at the age of 27. When she goes to Belgium for an internship, Theo follows her, and their bond becomes increasingly intense and complex. At its core, this is an atypical love story about an abuser and a woman who has been abused. The two leads, Jürgen Vogel (also a coscreenwriter) and Sabine Timoteo, deliver brave, bold performances, and the sensational aspects of the plot are balanced by grounded, fully developed characters who struggle with their own private demons while engaging in a very complex relationship.
Director's Statement Collapse
The film concerns topics one might consider as monstrous or abnormal. We shot chronologically, and when I looked through the camera and saw what Theo was doing to the woman in the opening sequence, I had serious doubts about whether I would be able to handle this all the way to the end. But since I wanted to make a tender film about the terror of loneliness, I showed everything that my camera recorded with the same sympathy, no matter what it was, whether brutal or hesitantly hopeful. The Free Will is not a film "about" a specific theme, which in this case could be rape, both physical and psychological. It is not a "problem" film, but rather a kind of journey on which we accompany two people all the way to the inexorable end, whether good or bad.
Film Information Collapse
[FWILL] | 2006 | 163 | Narrative Feature
Directed by: Matthias Glasner
Foreign Title: (Der Freie Wille)
Language: German, French
Premiere: North American
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About the Director(s)Collapse
Matthias Glasner was born in 1965. In 1993, he founded Jack Film & Music Productions with Bernd Medek and produced Die Mediocren in 1995. He then founded Schwarzweiss Film Productions with Juergen Vogel for future projects. His previous films include Sexy Sadie (1996) and Fandango (1999), among others.