Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Danish director Niels Arden Oplev helmed and co-scripted (with Steen Bille) the gritty, revisionist coming-of-age tale We Shall Overcome - the story of a young boy's crusade against tyrannical oppression, and the thematic and temporal intersection of his experiences with the American Civil Rights movement. The story opens in the Danish countryside of 1969, when Peder Johansen (Jens Jorn Spottag), the father of 13-year-old Frits (Janus Dissing Rathke) experiences a psychotic breakdown and is promptly dragged off to a mental hospital. Frits spends the following summer watching the international news reports of the U.S. Civil Rights crusades. Those impressions stay in Frits's memory and inspire him that next fall, when he enrolls as a student at a boarding school ruled with an iron fist by the sadistic, oppressive headmaster Lindum-Svendsen (Bent Mejding). When the latter catches Frits spying on a pretty female classmate in the girls' locker room, and punishes him by ripping off half of one ear, it not only infuriates and humiliates Frits, but ignites the fire of indignation in his parents. The Johansens hire an attorney and take legal proceedings against Lindum-Svendsen. During the following weeks, they realize that nothing is beneath the sociopathic headmaster; his activities include withdrawing Frits from classes and manipulating the court trial by having Peder proven mentally incompetent. But nothing can stop The Johansens' fight for justice.