The Boy Who Was a King

Movies, Documentary
4 out of 5 stars
The Boy Who Was a King
Grierson award-winning Paounov delivers another winner with this mesmerizingly strange true-life tale. At the age of seven, Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha was crowned Tsar of Bulgaria, then exiled by the Russians after WWII. Following decades abroad, he returned to post-Soviet Bulgaria and a landslide Prime Ministerial victory in 2001, thus illuminating the peculiar psyche of a nation whose longing for the mystical allure of monarchy remained undimmed. Jaw-dropping archive footage and interview material with the refreshingly level-headed former boy king lay out the facts, yet it’s the collateral weirdness which fascinates Paounov, like the taxidermists stuffing the royal coyote, and – incredibly! – an expat Japanese couple’s beyond-bonkers sung paean to Bulgarian king and country. Errol Morris meets the Coens in a documentary delicacy to savour.

By: Trevor Johnston


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Director: Andrey Paounov
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