Although he says that he has turned his back on America, Klein has continued to mine the American cultural cache throughout his long career. Mr Freedom was made in France during the heightened anti-Americanism of the 1960s. Banned by the French government and critically dismissed upon its release, the film stands as a visionary pop-culture polemic attacking the US foreign policy of the time (Vietnam) while colourfully deconstructing American ideology. Film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum called it ‘conceivably the most anti-American movie ever made.’
Once again, Klein prophetically anticipates the rise of the superhero genre in film, subverting it with a pastiche of puppets, outrageous costumes, over-the-top theatrical sets, buffoonery and larger-than-life comic book representations and conventions. Mr Freedom’s mission to stamp out leftist activity and spread democracy to those who may not be ready to receive it resonates even louder today than when the film was first screened. Excessive, kitschy and lots of fun.
Lecturer in Visual Culture, NCAD