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Plot:

Djata is a care-free 12-year-old growing up in a brutal dictatorship shut off from the outside world. When the government imprisons his father, Peter, and Djata and his mother Hannah are labeled traitors, the boy will not rest until he sees his father again.

Also Known As: Белый король, The White King, A fehér király

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  • luisa-paiva
    luisa paiva

    Based on a novel that was originally set in communist Eastern Europe, The White King is a depressing coming of age story about a young boy trying to circumnavigate a totalitarian society whilst his father is sent away to a prison camp.The film is a mixture of hunger games speculative fiction and oppressive regime drama. It’s well made all round with a fitting score, stated direction and production design that really brings out the poverty and misery that goes hand in hand with the majority of large communist states.You know why it’s depressing. You don’t need me to detail out the countless depictions of cruelty against the innocent and corruption of youth that’s in every film like this. What i feel i do need to tell you though is the film has a feeling that it’s incomplete. Maybe it was the lackluster ending, but The White King felt like it cared more about the world the story took place in rather than the story itself. There were too many loose ends let’s put it. It makes for a very episodic narrative that is not really all that engrossing.The reason why The White King had so much power for me was because there were many scenes of cruelty and barbarism, near back to back. The White King holds you hostage. It’s not as oppressive as The White Ribbon, but you don’t end up developing Stockholm syndrome either. I felt at times the film did not know what it wanted to either do or say. I can only conclude by saying The White King is a high quality production with decent acting, but a slow meandering narrative.

  • mikels-bite
    mikels bite

    If the purpose of a film is to entertain, then clearly this does not qualify. this is supposed to be the future, as seen through the eyes of those who brought it to the screen. a society that (in the main) have no transport, no TV and everything is “state” controlled, so each word and action is monitored and those who step out of line simply disappear either to a prison or worse. Greta Scaatchi is a lesbian General which makes things ever worse. Not seen a film as bad as this for many years and it does not have any form of a conclusion. PANTS in short!

  • bailey-young
    bailey young

    A very intelligently thought out and directed film. Beautifully shot in a stunning landscape. The film is emotional, eerie, thought provoking, disturbing (in an interesting way) and a refreshing change to the day to day films released. If you want to watch a ‘change from the norm’ film I would highly recommend people to watch.

  • ernesto-rael
    ernesto rael

    This movie is simply put amazing. In a near future dystopian society could look like. This movie has been put on my list of the movies to see in 2017. Independent cinema it it’s best. Djata a 12 year old boy from a lower class family that are labeled as traitors after his father is put in prison. Djata caught in the middle between his mother and his grand parents on his fathers side he must try to find a way to see his father again.

  • livia-de-wit
    livia de wit

    The White King is dark, surreal yet very real at the same time. A dystopian fantasy where there’s no uprising, no large scale rebellion to overthrow the evil despot. As such it is a refreshing and unique film but if you are looking for another Hunger Games probably best to go elsewhere. There’s strong performances from a quality cast but special mention must go to newcomer Lorenzo Allchurch (Djata) who is in every frame and carries the film with a multi-layered and moving performance. Some scenes may seem a little disjointed and unresolved but you can see how everything that is happening has an effect on Djata and lead to a powerful and deeply affecting ending.

  • venedikt-bevzenko
    venedikt bevzenko

    My wife and I caught this indi dystopian adventure at the Edinburgh Film Festival this year and were glad that we did.There are some excellent performances from a cast featuring new faces and established veterans. Without wanting to give too much away, the story is about a boy trying to make his way in a brutal totalitarian state, the location of which is never specified. The directors strike a good balance between the hopelessness of the boy’s situation and the touching wide-eyed optimism that he faces it withI particularly enjoyed the music in this film and would love to see the score appear on Spotify sometime.Some beautiful cinematography helps to make the film all the more watchableI really hope this makes it out to a wider audience as it could be set to be a cult classic!

  • orestas-vsiliauskas
    orestas vsiliauskas

    “They all will have to lose something. If not you are a traitor.””The White King” takes place in a future society. Has there been a worldwide, destructive war? A deadly epidemic? Or did a world state succeed in shutting down global communication, after which they could conquer all the on high-tech depending countries by using conventional warfare? And after this invasion, did they install a totalitarian regime? You won’t get any real answers to these questions. It looks like a hermetically sealed off camp with no luxury and limited basic needs. The regime can be called fascist. Even a sort of Hitler Youth is present. There’s militaristic tradition to honor “The Homeland”. The food supplies are managed according to strict rules. And apparently, each home is equipped with an intercom system where the daily production and practical information are announced. The Homeland is not a humanitarian society. It’s a society where coercion, control and punishment are key words. And this under the eye of strategically placed surveillance cameras.Djata (Lorenzo Allchurch) grows up in this commune. A continuing atmosphere of threat and oppression stands in the way of a carefree youthful life. Mischiefs are punished severely (with boxing irons). And when he tries to get a football back from some older bullies (probably sons of someone high in the military hierarchy), this turns into a violent fight rather than a kind of capture-the-flag game. In addition, his father is being arrested because of politically incorrect behavior. From then on, their live won’t be made easy. Their freedom is restricted and certain necessities are taken away from them.All this is taking place at the foot of an immense statue which can be compared (In terms of dimensions) with the Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro. But in appearance, it looks like an illustration from old Russia when Marxism ruled. This image appears to be a portrait of the dictator who created this community. However, don’t expect further explanation about this. The symbolism used will obviously remind you of other past regimes. One regime stricter and more dictatorial than the other. Despite the attempts to create a teenage atmosphere with Djata searching for a treasure, him visiting his influential grandparents and a short-lived intermezzo in a futuristic-looking building outside the guarded area, the atmosphere in this movie remains gloomy and sinister. This is not a dystopian movie such as “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent” where a heroine overthrows the totalitarian regime. This is a rather cynical film about a not so unthinkable world in which human freedom is non-existent. To think that in our present world there are people who actually live in such humiliating circumstances.The only actors who looked familiar to me, were Ross Partridge and Jonathan Pryce as Djata’s father and grandfather respectively. However, their roles were rather limited (although of significance). It’s mainly Lorenzo Allchurch and Agyness Deyn who deliver a brilliant performance. Allchurch’s naive look at the society he’s living in, is gradually being replaced by a determined attitude. It’s not always high-quality, award-winning acting but admirable to play such an important role at such a young age. Deyn’s part wasn’t necessarily self-evident either. A caring mother who tries to protect her son and who would do everything to get her deported man back. The movie doesn’t contain any magical and fascinating images full of special effects. There aren’t any battle scenes with rebels trying to overthrow a regime either. The story is generally fairly superficial and vague. Certain scenes were quite unnecessary. Like the confrontation with General Meade. This was solely used to show that it all takes place in a distant future. The end is quite sudden and leaves you behind with tantalizing questions. In terms of mood the film is a success. A sober and compromising atmosphere that feels like a lifelike nightmare. A nightmare that nobody wants to experience in person.More reviews here : http://bit.ly/2qtGQoc

  • ryan-bray
    ryan bray

    Unlike most movies today which rely on explosions and gunfire to tell a narrative The White King sends a powerful message of hope and a warning for the future. I read Gyorgy Dragoman’s book of the same name and loved it and this film is masterfully adapted to movie format, retaining the feel of adventure and yet the all-seeing presence of a dangerous dystopian state. It must be said, however, there are some moments when the film does not know what it wants to be, Sci-fi? Drama? But it is directed well enough that the movie moves briskly and is enjoyable. The cast all work well together on camera and all put in good performances. The chemistry of Deyn and the boy, Allchurch, was moving and carried the film beautifully. The visuals are amazing and Rene Richter captures the Hungarian landscapes beautifully. The CGI, used sparingly, is good especially in a scene where we look over some futuristic buildings. Some people may complain that we do not see enough of the brutal state but I believe that that is not the point of the film it is about the family and the glimpses of the regime we get are satisfying and remind you of the threat. The final scene is powerful and moving as we see that truly “the hardest thing to break is the human spirit”.

  • toivo-holappa
    toivo holappa

    I tend to very much dislike this kind of film– only because it is so realistically disturbing. This isn’t science fiction; it is foresight of grim possibilities. Yet it is reasonably well done.The White King is a very dark tale of dystopian future in a Nazi-like society resulting from common people giving power to a militaristic totalitarian regime. Clues indicate the country was once free and open. No one expected what was it was capable of becoming. The story provides stern warning about what any government can become given blind trust and limitless authority.We are not told in the film where this takes place. But enough hints are provided to make one realize this is not Russia, Red China or other lands that have been despotic for centuries and continue so to this day. This was once a shining, “free” society that turned to darkness via a vocal / hysterical minority forcing their views on others until they had cowered everyone else into submission. The strong hint that this could be the United States or Australia presents an intentional cautionary tale to the audience.The movie’s tale is summarized in the animated opening credits. The core of society is ethics, morality and the family unit. When these things are sidestepped, ignored, disrupted for personal-agenda beliefs, no matter how right that society thinks it may be, the freedom-of-beliefs which guarded that society fall one by one until the will of the minority becomes public opinion, hysteria, mass enforcement and finally dictatorship and totalitarianism. This lesson has been seen time and again throughout history. But now, today, we see modern first-world countries taking steps in the same direction, on a world-wide basis. Those who think “this would never happen here” fail to understand that is exactly what many Germans thought while Hitler crept into power. Reigns of terror begin with people’s willingness to abandon their beliefs and standards in cowardly submission to those more vocal and repressive. This film portrays that from behind-the-scenes, and does so quite well. While it didn’t strike me personally as being an exceptional film due to lack of high points and a considerably weak ending (thus the lower stars), the message it provides is clear: those who enforce their beliefs and opinions upon others pave the way for those who enslave.

  • mrs-bethany-evans
    mrs bethany evans

    Don’t watch this hoping that somethings going to happen …… just a bit more , it’s coming soon !! It’s not dystopian it’s just dire !!

  • juhani-koski-koponen
    juhani koski koponen

    I was fortunate enough to get to see a screening of The White King and can’t say enough about it. And given the current political mood here in the U.S., it is particularly relevant. I’ve seen plenty of dystopian films in my time, but The White King was refreshing in that directors Alex Helfrecht & Jorg Tittle chose to go against the typical non-stop violent, action genre to tell their story. As a matter of fact, the cinematography by Rene Richter and production design by Richard Bullock were some of the most beautiful I’ve seen. Not to mention the haunting original score by Joanna Bruzdowicz. Helfrecht and Tittel cast the film with some of the best British actors today— Jonathan Pryce, Fiona Shaw, Aggy Deyn and Greta Scacchi. 13 year old newcomer, Lorenzo Allchurch, given the task of carrying an entire film, skillfully rose to the occasion. I was actually moved to tears a few times throughout. I also appreciated the ending, which again, doesn’t give into “what’s expected.” You can tell that the filmmakers had a vision and didn’t compromise which is so refreshing. If you get the chance to see this film, I HIGHLY recommend you do.

  • cheryl-higgins
    cheryl higgins

    I am always a fan of any film that portrays a bleak future or alternative, and this film provides.Telling the story of a boy whose Dad is taken away for being a ‘traitor’ may seem a slight cliché, but this does not follow that predictable path. Through showing the story through the pov of the child, you see glimpses of different threads that hint at other sub-stories, which then linger on the mind longer than if they were explained and told in full.A very thoughtful film, with some great cinematography showing off stunning locations and def worth watching. The ending should make anyone think long-after, unless you are the lazy sort who wants it all wrapped up nicely for you.

  • helena-zakis
    helena zakis

    This is a heartfelt and touching story of a boy growing up in an unnamed totalitarian state. (I’m not an expert on this but was reminded of Stalinist propaganda). He and his mother try to find his father after he’s taken away (as a clear dissident), trying to enlist his grandfather (a patriot of the regime) and finally appealing to the regime itself. It’s also a coming of age story as the boy’s eyes are opened gradually to the state he’s living in.It’s beautifully designed and shot and the boy and his mother (Agyness Deyn) give terrific performances. A first feature which has had time, love and attention poured into it and a lovely gem of a film – deserves to be widely seen.

  • yangseongsu
    yangseongsu

    Four stars overall, but seven stars for the idea. Four stars because dialogue was hard to follow with no subtitles; poor enunciation; really poor audio level control, and that’s coming from a person w/normal hearing. Seven stars for a dystopian future storyline similar to what China, Russia, North Korea, Turkey, Syria offer the world now (and the US kind of heading that way recently). A trickle down economy in which the wealthy and/or powered privileged keep the masses in line w/slogans w/nationalist religious fervor, and the scraps to keep them sustainable day-to-day. Personal expression of your dreams, etc. are reason for sanction or imprisonment. Appropriately, filmed out of Hungary.

  • lena-lindblad
    lena lindblad

    I love dystopian films and therefore I really enjoy this film, yes as some critics mentioned there are a few set pieces / stories that aren’t fully explained (The robot or cave scene for example) but the viewer needs to take this as a part of the overall world the film is set in. Why is the state depraving his citizen of wealth or technology? what happen to people that rebel, how to survive? what is freedom? all these questions are viewed from the young main protagonist that is delivering a really good performance. A film that makes you think is always a good thing, a film that doesn’t have an happy ending is also always better…

  • louise-lafleur
    louise lafleur

    The White King last night at Edinburgh’s Film Festival offered its viewers a satisfyingly tense ride from its opening animated graphics to its tantalising ending. The film’s subtle use of sometimes opposed and sometimes complimentary cinematic genres contributes to the viewers’engagement. The realism, fantasy, animation and science fiction combine forces to interrogate the choices made by young and old as they struggle or cave into the intransigent demands of a totalitarian state.An impressive all star cast for the Directors’ first feature film includes Jonathan Pryce, Agyness Dean, Fiona Shaw, Olafur Darri Olafsson and Gretta Scacci and they offer a tremendous boost for the central performance for promising young actor Lorenzo Allchurch. Pryce used the Q&A session afterwards to highlight how the film’m themes resonate with the concerns of the Brexit debate, imploring the audience to vote ‘Remain’!

  • kjell-holm
    kjell holm

    This was a visually a stunning film about a charmed Dystopian world filmed on location I think in Hungary. Uncomfortable to watch through the innocent boys’ eyes as he realizes all is not as it seems….. Very good acting from young newcomer and all the cast – some terrifying twins like something out of Mad Max. Jonathan Pryce always hits this characters spot on. Agyness Deyn very natural. Strangely topical in our current climate in 2017… Who really knows what is what and of course, a child sees things differently. Never read the book, which clearly has undertones of 1984 and other classics.A great first film from a new producing/writing/directing team.

  • david-adkins
    david adkins

    The brash manner power is abused by those in control – the police raids, the deportations and work camps are obvious and understood by most, but even directors with first hand experience of dictatorships struggle to portray the true effect of oppressive regimes on everyday life. The White King managed to faithfully capture that sinister aspect; the slow yet terrifyingly unstoppable negativity that poisons every aspect of mundane life, the glacier-like pressure steadily suffocating intellect and depressing emotions for those living under a tyranny.The White King did not only get that foreboding – almost spiritual – darkness of everyday oppression right, but managed to capture the lights, sounds and general ambiance of life under a communist regime. It took me from watching a film to experiencing an engrossingly vivid daydream, a memory of my childhood as a Pioneer (The Communist Party’s child division), growing up on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain.I left the film profoundly touched, with old memories unexpectedly resurfacing, making me realise once again, just how relevant stories like Animal Farm, 1984 and The White King are to our life today, in the modern democracies of the West.A splendid film for intelligent audiences.

  • joanne-howell
    joanne howell

    I saw this film at a press screening at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. The only positive was that I didn’t have pay to get in.This film was so bad, on so many levels, it was insulting. I’ll confess not to having read the source material so it’s impossible for me to know how well or otherwise the screenplay had been derived from the (apparently well-received) novel of the same name, but what can be said with certainty is that while the author has read ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ (as everyone should, of course), he’s also plagiarised it. More of that later.The cartoon opening sequence which ‘explained’ the pass we find ourselves at at the start of the film itself screams ‘NO BUDGET!’ and while that’s not a crime, it was so lazily done that immediately I thought of a simpler, equally inexpensive method of explaining the back story: a voice-over with titles, as was neatly demonstrated in ‘Escape From New York’.Variants of ‘lazy’ kept coming back to me throughout. Case in point, the technical aspects of the film. While the cinematography was adequate, the audio jumped between ear-splitting and barely audible; the lighting was also erratic. The direction was incoherent at best and took us down numerous paths of irrelevance, while ignoring opportunities to take the viewer where they actually needed to go. There was no structure that I could discern.The worst offender was the screenplay. Completely lacking in any kind of narrative flow, it struck me as a very lazy piece of work – or incompetent, or a bit of both; take your pick. The ridiculous ending had the imprisoned father being driven from the scene of his father’s funeral in an armoured car, with his son and wife running and cycling after it respectively. To what end? What were they going to do had they caught up with the armoured vehicle? The sight of the wife of the imprisoned pedalling furiously on the bike had a certain comedic value, I grant you, but I’m not sure this was the intention of the co-directors. All that was missing from this scene was the music ‘Yakety Sax’ (a.k.a. the music from The Benny Hill Show).Some of the performances were suspect. Agyness Deyn as the wife was actually quite good, but horribly miscast as the mother of the protagonist, the son – I initially assumed she was the son’s big sister. The son, played by Lorenzo Allchurch, did not convince. His grandfather was played by Jonathan Pryce and his part as a ‘loyal party man’ was phoned in – and who can blame him when presented with dialogue of such poverty? When you compare his performance here with his epic turn in ‘Brazil’ it’s impossible to believe this is the same actor.As to the plagiarism allegation, in one scene we see the son being urged by his grandfather to shoot a cat with a handgun. He’s reluctant to do so despite his grandfather’s cajoling, but eventually pulls the trigger and succeeds in killing the cat. The point of this scene, as I interpreted it, was to show that under a totalitarian state, results can be achieved if sufficient pressure is applied. This is an unashamed lift from the ‘morning exercise’ passage in ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ where, when directly addressed by the exercise instructor though his telescreen, Winston Smith is able to touch his toes ‘for the first time in years’. How we’re not expected to notice this obvious parallel is a mystery.Overall, the film was boring, nonsensical, technically inept and also hamstrung by that appalling screenplay, which came across as if the writer had better things to do. Well, if you’re bringing your début feature to an internationally-renowned film festival for public scrutiny then, no, you don’t have better things to do.The film’s Facebook page trumpets that Ian Rankin tweeted that this film was a ‘harrowing and timely story about ideology, indoctrination and the fragility of freedom’. Obviously I disagree with every word, but it’s telling that Mr Rankin didn’t say if he thought it was any good. Damning with faint praise, I suspect.This film deserves to sink without trace for its laziness, technical ineptitude and audience-insulting ‘Oh, I reckon that’ll do’ leitmotif.EDIT: I was astonished to subsequently learn that TWK had a budget of $2m. In these straitened times, profligacy of this level should be a criminal offence.

  • vicenta-rovira-lujan
    vicenta rovira lujan

    I enjoyed this new film and also, as a small rule, I am generally really interested to see new directors’/producers work. Especially when the is a dearth of good stuff coming out of the established US/UK areas, well picked Edinburgh Film Festival! It was interesting and although one can see allusions, references etc to established works such as Orwell, Huxley and so on – well they do say there are only 7 stories in the world! – this is a new take on it.Loved the the boy lead actor, and Deyn (who I thought surprisingly good and natural) loved the cinematography and the story of a (particularly relevant today) dystopian society, there were others that also stood out, although I was a little surprised to see De Lint who I have not seen for a very long time on the big screen. Moody and thought provoking with one or two touches of brilliance. Not perfect (a first film n.b.) but the fact that I was engaged throughout says it all.

  • art-owr-sadoyan
    art owr sadoyan

    The opening credits of The White King are some of the best I’ve ever seen. A brilliant animation hints at the world we’re about to discover. Thankfully the film itself, does them total justice.It’s 1984, it’s Nazi Germany, it’s north Korea. The society we enter is ruled by a brutal, fascist regime that tries to eke all joy from its people. What sets this film apart is the fact that it’s seen through the eyes of a boy whose hope and humanity have not completely been shattered by those who dictate his future. Without revealing too much, the film explores the decisions he has to make and the relationships he keeps, when a close member of his family is accused of speaking out against the regime.It’s an acting feast with a sterling debut from Lorenzo Allchurch who plays the main character alongside actors du jour Agnes Deyn and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, with film royalty Jonathan Pryce and Greta Scacci.The film is beautifully directed. Country landscapes are bathed in the dreamy sunlight of a late summer’s afternoon, in total contrast with the dark, oppressive ways of the White King dictatorship.It’s the future and it’s also the present; scarily reminiscent of the current political climate. But not without total hope. Go and see it!

  • gina-webb
    gina webb

    Potential. But I think it failed to convert from the book into a film. The backdrop with violent kids just rampaging, and no one paying attention to that, to the ending that offered nothing. I have no idea what the film was wanting to achieve. I think they wanted to make this a triple series but maybe realised it was just weak material and gave up. either that or the editor is owed his or her $500 fee and withheld the last 20 minutes of the film. Watch it or not it is one of those that won’t make a difference. Sad really, had a lot of potential in there. I think you could have gone to 20 random people in the street and they could have made that 50% better

  • ing-hermann-josef-naser-b-eng
    ing hermann josef naser b eng

    I saw this at the opening at EIFF For once a movie that shows us an adolescent understanding how propaganda can blind you, and standing up for himself in a believable real life scenario. No sci-fi gimmicks or ninjas here- which is a reason why it may not appeal to some people. But this is real life, and if you are 12, these are the means you have at your disposal. How propaganda and politician’s lies can deceive us is very topical at the moment – in national and international politics. The narrative is at times disjointed and I was not sure if it reflected the episodic nature of the original novel or the disorientation of the child (an excellent Lorenzo Allchurch) facing the realisation his world is different from what he believes A particularly believable performance by Jonathan Pryce as the grandfather torn between duty and love.

  • mrs-shawna-lamb
    mrs shawna lamb

    The film had me hooked, waiting for all the loose ends to be tied up.1) The twins – what happened to them? 2) Where is this country? 3) What is the meaning of all the technology in the General’s house? 4) Is it a world cut off from the outside, like in M Shyamalan’s ‘The Village’? 5) How did the people get out of the building at the funeral? 6) What did the father say to be labelled a traitor? So many more, and there was no sense of justice. The bad guys weren’t punished. There was no resolution. And then it just abruptly ended.Would have been good as a first episode in a series but is too unfinished to be a film. An hour and a half of my life that I can’t get back.

  • luiz-fernando-ramos
    luiz fernando ramos

    This follows a family living in a totalitarian dystopia.This is a hard film for me to review.First off, its production is very good. The camera work and direction is great. The characters are very well constructed and the acting is absolutely top notch. The world is quickly and deftly painted using iconography and suggestion. The world is oppressive but not overly brutal making it feel more real and dangerous. I enjoyed every minute of the first hour greatly and was gripped to see what was going to happen.Here is the problem. Not much does happen. This film has plenty of story, but hardly any plot. Characters are introduced, and adversities befall our leads, but very little is resolved or explored. Any small victories the characters win aren’t exploited.The only analogy I can think of is if you made a film about a waitress who works in a bar in Star Wars. Sure dancing girls are fed to monsters and Jedi come in – but at the end of the day you are still watching someone serve drinks.Maybe it is my personal taste, I thought I was more open minded than this, but it seems I do need a certain degree of resolution.I kept the mark high because of the quality of the film making – not sure if I would recommend it though.