Desperate to return home from a state visit to Istanbul when his country suffers its worst-ever political crisis, but unable to fly due to a solar storm, the King of the Belgians finds himself on a tumultuous road trip across the Balkans.
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Lene Cecilia Sparrok,
Mia Erika Sparrok,
A recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, who has been living in Europe for decades, accepts an invitation to receive a prize. In Argentina he finds both similarities and irreconcilable differences with the people of his hometown.
The King of the Belgians is on a state visit in Istanbul when his country falls apart. He must return home at once to save his kingdom. But a solar storm causes airspace and communications to shut down. No planes. No phones. With the help of a British filmmaker and a troupe of Bulgarian folk singers, the King and his entourage manage to escape over the border. Incognito. Thus begins an odyssey across the Balkans during which the King discovers the real world - and his true self. Written by
Road movie in disguise, covering contemporary topics, like role of a king, Brussels as EU capital city, and much more. Characters becoming more and more likely
Seen at the Film Fest Ghent 2016 (website: filmfestival.be/en). It is very unlike the usual road movie, where the trip is used as a vehicle to glue a series of local shots together, and merely showcases landscapes, folklore, noteworthy customs, foreign phenomena, and nothing more. This one stands out for several other reasons, of which I can mention at least four from the top of my head.
Firstly, it includes contemporary issues like countries joining and/or leaving the EU, a difficult trip through the Balkan crossing many borders and meeting all sorts of people, officially and semi-officially. Secondly, the premise that Belgium and in particular Brussel as capital city of the EU, are the victim of a country falling apart when Wallonia declares its independence. Thirdly, an important role of the king is to visualize unity, but alas this time he is far away when sh*t happens, and circumstances prevent him from returning to his country ASAP. Fourthly, the foursome (or five, when we include the film maker, who has more roles than just recording events) will be forced to drop, albeit reluctantly, their original roles, eventually forgetting protocols and other things they had to uphold until this moment. A nice element is that all members of the party of five are equally important in maintaining progress or rescuing them from nasty situations when appear one after another on their trip home.
On the other hand, this company of five has incredible sorts of luck underway, be it that stubbornness and sheer determination also play an important part in the proceedings. And there are also the down-to-earth problems of cash and batteries that are neglected and incredibly never seem to occur, albeit both problems are mentioned by the film maker on only two occasions: time to recharge batteries (once he should film but he doesn't find the spot of any value), and once when their last cash was handed over to buy a boat.
All in all, although the whole situation is utter nonsense, it serves very well as a framework to link several hilarious situations together, also including some contemporary issues as icing on the cake. The party of five allows all its members to gradually drop their original roles, and to rescue the situation at several instances one by one. Even the dubious past of the film maker is partly revealed (or at least suggested), making his role carrying more weight than the proverbial fly on the wall. There is progression in the story all the time. Impossible to predict any of the turns of events we get presented, so expect to witness the unexpected. Finally, does the King get the chance to write his first speech ever without consulting "the palace" and the prime minister?? It would be a unique occurrence, but he surely will be able to pull it off once given the chance to be himself, not encapsulated in protocols and political considerations.
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