What to Expect from the New Freud Netflix Series
Here's something to watch over this month-long quarantine: Freud, the latest Netflix series overcoming the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles.
The image of Sigmund Freud most of us have in our minds is of the bearded shrink taking notes by the side of a patient with daddy issues lying down on the therapist’s couch. But the upcoming Netflix series aims to take the founder of psychoanalysis out of his stuffy office and onto the sultry streets of 19th-century Vienna.
Freud is not a historical biopic but a re-imagining of his life and ideas. The story follows the young Sigmund, a neurologist struggling to convince the intellectual establishment of his radical theories about the human psyche. He is then entangled in a web of conspiracies and must work with a policeman and a spirit medium to track down a mysterious serial killer. The hunt for the murderer forces him to apply his ideas, which would develop into the foundations of Freudian psychoanalysis.
At the helm of this project is the Austrian director Marvin Kren, who earned popular acclaim with the zombie horror film Rammbock. He recently directed the gritty crime drama series 4 Blocks, which received rave reviews in Germany.
When Netflix announced the production of Freud, Kren declared his intention “to show a Freud that we don’t know and have never seen before—a man in search of recognition, one who is caught between two women, between reason and instinct. His psychoanalysis and the concept of id, ego, and super-ego weren’t created in a vacuum—they’re based on the experiences of a troubled genius who has experienced all sides of humanity.”
How is this new take on Freud going to look? The trailer suggests the stylish gloss of a period piece, the eerie suspense of a murder mystery, and enough trippy, nightmarish dream sequences to match any gothic horror flick.
In a recent interview with Variety, Kren spoke of his plans to mix “modern and provocative elements” with the historical backdrop of the old Vienna. The capital of the former Austrian Empire was a celebrated center of culture and learning in 19th-century Europe. But the lavish architecture of the city’s Baroque churches and palaces resplendent in the daytime stood in stark contrast to its unsettling, crime-ridden nightlife. It is in the grimy underbelly of Vienna where Kren finds the inspiration for the show’s setting.
Austrian actor Robert Finster stars as the titular hero. Georg Friedrich plays the soldier-turned-policeman, Alfred Kiss, who battles to find peace against his traumatic memories of war. The spirit medium Fleur Salomé is portrayed by up-and-coming Swiss actress Ella Rumpf, herself no stranger to working with dark, disturbed characters, having starred in the award-winning horror movie, Raw.
The show marks the first collaboration between Netflix and the Austrian public TV provider, ORF. Netflix has bolstered its collection of international programs by producing some of the most popular shows in Europe. In recent years, it has acquired the crime thriller Money Heist and the teen drama Elite from Spain, and the supernatural mystery series Dark from Germany.
Freud is released on Monday, March 23, on Netflix.