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1968. Wolfgang’s stepfather decides to put the 14 year old in a Christian reform school called FREISTATT. Beneath the friendly facade lies a regime of forced labor and collective punishment. Director Marc Brummund aligns himself with a classic ...


It was only a matter of time till German films would tackle the abuse in church-run protectories that occurred in the 60s and 70s. Following Christian Frosch’s abrasive VON JETZT AN KEIN ZURÜCK comes Marc Brummund’s FREISTATT. Different than Frosch, whose style is more reminiscent of New German Cinema, especially Fassbinder, Brummund aligns himself with US prison films like PAPILLON, ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ, or THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. 14 year old Wolfgang likes working on mopeds. His mother is pregnant from his stepfather who sticks him in the FREISTATT facility. Wolfgang is kindly greeted by principal Brockmann but learns all too quickly that what lies behind the friendly façade is impending cruelty and oppression. The boys need to drive with a handcar to the swamp and cut peat under the watchful eyes of the guards, much like plantation slaves. Physical violence runs rampant among the inmates and the guard – or “brother” as the boys have to call him – goads the pecking order by collectively punishing the group for an individual offense. Brummund’s film incorporates many things: dramatic escape attempts, sexual abuse, individual revolts against sadistic guards, and finally an inmate revolt set to Richie Haven’s woodstock song “Freedom.” Brummund’s film is sometimes a bit too similar to his genre role models and some individual scenes seem too self-conscious and flashy. FREISTATT does has the right amount of drive, though.

Tom Dorow

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Deutschland 2015, 104 min
Genre: Drama
Director: Marc Brummund
Author: Nicole Armbruster, Marc Brummund
DOP: Judith Kaufmann
Montage: Hans Funck
Music: Anne Nikitin
Distributor: Salzgeber
Cast: Max Riemelt, Uwe Bohm, Katharina Lorenz, Stephan Grossmann, Alexander Held, Langston Uibel, Louis Hoffmann, Enno Trebs, Anna Bullard
FSK: 12
Release: 25.06.2015




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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