A King and His Movie (La Pelicula Del Rey)

Director: Carlos Sorin
Screenwriters: Jorge Goldenberg, Carlos Sorin

Institute History

  • 1988 Sundance Film Festival


While much can be said about the difficulty of shooting films outside of Buenos Aires, it has taken Carlos Sorin to etch into celluloid the full horrors of what can happen to a director making a movie on a shoestring in Patagonia. Sorin’s film is a wonderfully excessive send-up of movie-making that is a s specifically Argentine as it is undeniably universal.

David Vass, a young and egotistical director out to make his mark on the world, is obsessed with the story of Orilie Anoine de Tounens, a Frenchman who in 1860 proclaimed himself to be the King of Araucania and Patagonia. Even when his funding falls through, Vass persists in making the film, rounding up actors by typecasting on the streets and dragging his hapless producer in tow. What ensues is some kind of cross between farce and tragedy, all blown up to the bombastic scale of a certain kind of movie-making, with Eric Von Stroheim and Werner Herzog never far from our thoughts. Sorin combines the high-art narcissism of his movie maker with the stock figures of the commercial movie world (a jolly fat prostitute, the philandering homosexual, or sultry Brazilian “actress”). As the movies’s resources get slimmer and slimmer, the director’s vision gets increasingly demanding, until the gap between reality and intention lands A King and His Movie squarely in the terrain of the surreal.

— Tony Safford

Screening Details

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