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Without the King (2008)

King Mswati III , Queen LaMbikiza , Michael Skolnik  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Without the King + Love and Death in the Kingdom of Swaziland + The Kingdom of Roses and Thorns
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Product Details

  • Actors: King Mswati III, Queen LaMbikiza, Princess Sikhanyiso
  • Directors: Michael Skolnik
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Swedish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • DVD Release Date: July 22, 2008
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0017WI5PW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,103 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs International Documentary Festival, this acclaimed films 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 revoltuion, and the dawning awareness of a young Swazi princess as she realizes the contrast between her impoverished country and her lavish lifestyle. In SiSwati with English subtltles.


Captures the birth of a nation's revolution.....A most inspiring expose. --Hot Docs

Customer Reviews

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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
The `King' in the title is Mswati III, the ruler of the small, landlocked southern African nation of Swaziland. Swaziland is desperately poor, overpopulated, and ravaged by HIV; the prevalence of infection exceeds 40 %, the highest rate in the world. Many people rely on international food aid to avoid starvation. Much of the country's problems can be traced to the fact that since 1973 it has been ruled by Mswatis' father, and then Mswati himself; although there is a parliament, it essentially consists of sycophants who carry out the King's orders.

The film has three narrative threads: one deals with the King; another with his eldest child, 18 year-old Princess Sikhanyiso; and the third, with a group of dissidents battling to overthrow the monarchy and bring a genuine democracy to the country.

The King is hardly a despot in the traditional African mode of an Idi Amin, a Robert Mugabe, or a Macias (Nguema) Biyogo. He is a rather affable man, with an indolent disposition, who shows every sign of being bored by his country's many problems. He is fixated on his three main pastimes. One involves buying things - fleets of SUVs, limousines, and, early on in the film, a $45 million corporate jet (!) When the off-screen interviewer questions the wisdom of this decision, Mswati disingenuously states that he can't help it if the Swazi parliament wants to buy jet planes for the benefit of their Beloved Majesty !

The King's other pastime is being feted by large crowds of citizens at full-on, `ooga - booga' ceremonies where everyone wears a knee-length toga-like robe with colorful designs, clutches a stick in one hand, and shuffles around the grounds of the stadium chanting in Bantu.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Last King September 15, 2008
A good film that catches many of the issues in Swaziland which the King is not dealing with.
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1 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars FAKE Democracy Propaganda Film December 26, 2012
I saw the film "Without the King". Question... In Africa the bread basket of the world, if there is no war/military conflict in one of the countries there, then how can a person be starving to death as some of the "paid rebels" in this fake democracy propaganda film falsely claim? We are smart enough to know that since these "paid trouble makers" can make time to produce and buy their own beer then they can take that same energy and grow some food in that very rich land of theirs. I mean think about it, who would really hate on a country that honors virgins and chastity? We know who, a people whose countries honor homos and whores instead.

This fake Doc is a disgrace to true film making!
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