Without the King Image
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55

Mixed or average reviews - based on 7 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs International Documentary Festival, this acclaimed film tells an astonishing story of Africa’s last absolute monarchy, the Kingdom of Swaziland. King Mswati III, a distant figure out of touch with his home and country, rules by decree andWinner of the Special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs International Documentary Festival, this acclaimed film tells an astonishing story of Africa’s last absolute monarchy, the Kingdom of Swaziland. King Mswati III, a distant figure out of touch with his home and country, rules by decree and lives a life of luxury together with his 12 wives, while his subjects suffer from crushing poverty and the world’s highest HIV infection rate. With unprecedented access, we meet headstrong first wife Queen LaMbikiza, eldest child and teen rapper, Princess Sikhanyiso, King Mswati himself, as well as many Swazi citizens who are plotting his downfall. Filmmaker Michael Skolnik captures the birth of a nation's revolution, and the dawning awareness of a young Swazi princess as she realizes the contrast between her impoverished country and her lavish lifestyle. (First Run Features) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. The film, fluidly shot by James Adolphus, remains deeply sensitive to the complexities of a culture whose attachment to monarchy contravenes its best interests. This dilemma is gradually becoming clear to Princess Sikhanyiso, the oldest of the king's 22 children and a student in California. Intelligent, articulate, caring and strong-willed, she could be her country's best hope.
  2. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    63
    Intelligent but incomplete-feeling documentary.
  3. 63
    By far the film's most interesting subject is the king's eldest daughter, 18-year-old Princess Sikhanyiso, who likes to be known as Pashu. She's a self-styled rapper who goes to a Catholic college in California and acts like the spoiled rich kid that she is.
  4. Reviewed by: Vadim Rizov
    60
    A cut above the average Quad-bound video agit-prop doc, Michael Skolnik's Without the King succeeds mostly through negative virtues.
  5. 50
    A curious mixture of banality and revelation.
  6. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    50
    With Swaziland providing this mother lode of material, helmer Michael Skolnik extracts only the most pedestrian of films.
  7. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    40
    It is a shame the film doesn't cast a wider net into deeper political waters – the outrage is barely scratched in this production.
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