Netflix series “freud”: with a smile and scarred faces

The first Austrian Netflix production deals with the young Sigmund Freud. Watching it is, well, a Freud.

Freud’s visage: flawless and bearded Photo: Netflix

Film funding must be thought of as a sometimes rather joyless affair. It should no longer support films in which people smoke, demand the German government’s drug commissioner and German Cancer Aid, for example. And in 2018, the British Film Institute was actually prompted to declare that it could no longer support films in which villains with disfiguring facial scars played a role. In order to integrate people whose faces, because of some kind of mark, did not conform to a common beauty standard.

It’s hard to imagine what it would mean if film sponsors in other countries were to follow suit. Guys like Brian De Palma’s "Scarface" Tony Montana would finally be (movie) history. And was the fact that Joaquin Phoenix, as the latest "Joker" reincarnation, had to do without an acid accident already the consequence of the "Scarxit"?

The new series "Freud" – the very first Austrian Netflix series by "4 Blocks" director Marvin Kren – lets (us incorrigible scar fetishists among film buffs) breathe a sigh of relief. Because what do we see: flawless facial skin of the heroes – as far as it is visible under the typical beard fashion of the time. The year is 1886, and the heroes in question are the young Sigmund Freud, who is still very clumsy and enthusiastic about hypnosis, and Inspector Kiss, who is portrayed by an excellent Georg Friedrich, sometimes with and sometimes without a pimple cap, and who more than a little steals Freud’s thunder in uncovering a murderous conspiracy.

But never mind, we are interested in their antipodes in this context. And they could actually herald the renaissance of a special form of scar-facedness that has gone somewhat out of fashion. Even those who studied in Heidelberg, a stronghold of the fraternities, in the 1990s rarely saw such a veritable Schmiss, i.e. the characteristic scar on the cheek, which was worn during a student mensuration, in the lecture hall.

In "Freud," Freud’s anti-Semitic and otherwise very unsympathetic physician colleague Leopold von Schonfeld and the imperial and royal officer Georg von Lichtenberg, both of whom are also wearing a scar. Officer Georg von Lichtenberg, to whom the veteran Kiss owes a traumatic war experience, main suspects in murder and child abduction all both, wear such a smack. One even witnesses von Lichtenberg disfiguring another with not one but two Schmissen. It is a, well: Freud!

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