The winds of resistance and change that swept across the world in the 1960s even make their way to a young boy in a small Danish town in 1969. The excitement of the era transmitted through television enhances the boy’s consciousness. He begins to fight back with Martin Luther King’s message of freedom in his heart against the principal’s violent authority, which symbolizes an oppressive system. The setting is a school and the structure of the story has been used repeatedly in films ranging from Jean Vigo’s Zero de Conduit to Richard Linklater’s School of Rock where kids (and a very small number of teachers) rebel against the oppression of authority. These films create a clear confrontation and end by rewarding the good and punishing the bad, which garners sympathy. They also utilize small episodes that are not limited by time or space to convey the story. However, We Shall Overcome, which is based on a true story, takes a slightly different approach in presenting the cheerful process of rebellion and arriving at the conclusion. Although life on a Danish farm in the 1960’s fails to create an original atmosphere within a pastoral image, the betrayal of the ‘hippie’ teacher, who preaches with long hair and rock music, to the sudden end of oppressive authority seems more like apocalyptic punishment rather than the fruit of resistance. This is a story of a bizarre victory and a somewhat suspicious development.
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