Inspired by true events through the writing of Frederick Douglass, an African-American abolitionist, statesman, and social reformer, 'Free' is about a young slave worker who is secretly taught to read and write by his master's wife. Using only the air as their blackboard, it was at that moment that he realized that literacy was his pathway from slavery to freedom.
Frederick writes, “My new mistress proved to be all she appeared when I first met her at the door, — a woman of the kindest heart and finest feelings.” He continues, “her face was made of heavenly smiles, and her voice of tranquil music. She very kindly commenced to teach me the A, B, C's”
When I first heard this story I fantasized about what this style of teaching may look and feel like. Writing letters and words in the air immediately felt like dance in and of itself. Therefore it only felt natural for 'Free' to use not only dialogue but emotional movement to drive the narrative.
Although slavery has long since past we still struggle for equality; to be able to stand side-by-side and be treated as one. One example of in-equality is within our educational system. Even today, many children are deprived of a decent education which is inexcusable. 'Free' highlights the importance of literacy whilst telling the story of this pivotal moment that changed the life of a young Frederick Douglass. Thus the timing of this film feels particularly poignant.
I hope you are inspired and can join me in reflecting upon the value of education and the act of kindness and how today, we need them more than ever.