The experimental short film FREEDOM & INDEPENDENCE by Bjørn Melhus questions the current global ideological paradigm shifts towards new forms of religious capitalism by confronting ideas and quotes of the self-proclaimed objectivist philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand with evangelical contents of US-American mainstream movies. This contemporary fairy tale, in which Melhus performs all characters himself, was partly shot in a Berlin morgue and new urban environments in Istanbul.
Against the backdrop of an unfathomable megalopolis, in a story that follows the associative qualities of a dream logic, the protagonists quote from concepts of neo-liberal elitism, and a mix of religious delusions and hallucinations of the apocalypse. The film begins in a sacral space, where Randi, a figure that references Ayn Rand, transforms a parapsychological medium into two digital clouds and sends them on a journey through a megalopolis in full growth. There they materialize as two bodies, which go by the names of Mr. Freedom and Ms. Independence.
In the following passage through a city in transformation that is increasingly shaped according to capitalist interests and where privatization swallows up the public, Mr. Freedom and Ms. Independence recite Christian-fundamentalist rhetoric and head towards the biblical apocalypse and doomsday. However, the supposed salvation is only the reunification into their original state as „the medium“ and their return to their uber mom Randi. The film ends in the post-mortem examination room of a morgue where Randi rules over a crowd of sick, half-dead, masked men.
Written, directed, performed & edited by: Bjørn Melhus
Sound and Music in collaboration with: Wolfram Spyra
Director of Photography: Eike Zuleeg
Camera 2nd Unit (Istanbul): Ben Brix
Costume Design & Make-up Artist: Julia Neuenhausen
Set Design: Felix Ott
Choreography: Helga Wretman
Additional Performers: Jörg Brinkmann, Carsten Främke, Tommy Grov, Ralf Henning, Felix Laubscher, Klaus Pape, Manu Washaus, Chloe & Joel Beck
Camera Operator: Jens-Christian Wanzeck
Dolly Grip: Thomas Hoffmann
Chief Lighting Technician: Andreas Schwab
Lighting Technicians: Tommy Grov, Alex Turgeon
Data Wrangler: Thomas Taube
Location Manager (Berlin): Felix Laubscher
Location Manager (Istanbul): Can Sungu
Visual Effects: Mike Orthwein
Colorist: Stefan King
Production: Yuki Jungesblut
Produced by: LIMBOLAND PRODUCTIONS/ Bjørn Melhus