King of the Belgians by Peter Brosens, Jessica Woodworth
King of the Belgians is a very entertaining comedy.
And not only that, but it deals with themes that are relevant for politics, mass media, the Balkans and Turkey.
- Not to mention Belgium itself
The premise is that his Majesty, Nicolas III, Le Roi des Belges is visiting Turkey at the beginning of this very good film.
Turkey is a problem for the European Union- in fact, not just one, but a few:
- It has a ruler with tyrannical tendencies and Erdogan is already trampling on human rights and sending thousands behind bars
- On the other hand, The European Union needs Turkey to try and stop the flow of refugees coming from Syria, Iraq and other places
As the king is waiting for this new era sultan that is not named in the motion picture, the host is late and that is already somewhat funny.
A crew was selected by the queen of Belgium to make a documentary about her consort, who is spontaneous…
But there is dramatic news from home:
- Belgium has just split
- Wallonia has announced its independence!
Nicolas III wants to go home and he is working on a speech, for most of the rest of the film, addressing the terrible situation.
The hosts however disagree with his plans.
The tough man in charge with the security on the Turkish side is adamant and has other ideas regarding the program of the guest.
With reference to the infamous Icelandic volcano that has perturbed European and international flights years ago, we have new developments.
“Cosmic activity” is preventing airplanes from taking off, so the royal guest has to stay in Turkey, under the “protection” of these “hosts”.
His majesty knows that he has to be in his country, evading this exaggerated hospitality and he uses a disguise:
- He will escape Turkey with his entourage, all dressed as…Bulgarian folk singers!
- And the costumes and the result are hilarious
They also do quite a bit of singing and dancing in Bulgaria, as they stop in some villages and picturesque locations.
As the king is driving, they end up in a ditch because he is so moral and kind that he has avoided a turtle and sent his team off the road.
They end up in a village where the mayor uses no shoes, unless he is travelling to Sofia- quite a character.
He has the black belt in karate, has the fourth stage of Shotokan, he is also a diving instructor –or so he claims.
The Turkish squad catches up with the “fugitives” that they want to force to return to Istanbul and so there is a fight.
It is an exaggeration for diplomacy would not allow such an outrageous occurrence, but it serves well the purpose of satirizing aspects of present day politics, from the fragmentation of Belgium and others to the dictatorial turn taken by Turkey.
As they have interesting, intellectual conversations, people around the king are invited to express the negative and positive stereotypes regarding the Walloons and the Flemish communities, with creativity, warm hearts being mentioned.
The party crosses the border into Serbia, where they meet with a former Miss Serbia, demoted and moved at the customs because she was born in Montenegro and that republic chose independence after all the other former parts of the late Yugoslavia.
As they sail with a cheap boat and hope to reach the coast of Italy, the king’s entourage arrives in…Albania.
The authorities there listen to the affirmation that this tall man is…none other than the king of the Belgians and…send the whole lot to jail.
Finally, in an era of fake news and in a free world led by a clown obsessed with himself and willing to take only favorable, laudatory reports about his “superior, magnificent person, the Honest king has a different take:
- When the palace decides to censor all the documentary covering this extraordinary but compromising trip across the Balkans, the royal person decides otherwise and tells the film maker:
- You use it whichever way you like…you are free to use everything!
- What a noble, aristocratic attitude!!