2019 TIFF Movie Review: THE BAREFOOT EMPEROR (Belgium/Netherlands/Croatia/Bulgaria 2019) ****

The Barefoot Emperor Poster
How the last King of the Belgians becomes the first Emperor of Europe.

An emperor is set to rule a rejigged, newly nationalist Europe, in Jessica Woodworth and Peter Brosens’ (King of the Belgians) political satire.  Rushing home but unaware of news of his kingdom’s collapse, Belgian King Nicolas III (Peter Van den Begin) is mistakenly shot in Sarajevo, caught in a theatrical reenactment of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s 1914 assassination. 

 He wakes three days later on a Croatian island in Josip Broz Tito’s former summer home, now a discreet otherworldly off-grid sanatorium for the rich and famous run by the ominous Dr. Otto Kroll (Udo Kier).  This is Kafka meets Monty Python and feels like a Roy Andersson made deadpan comedy. Each patient is given the name of his room with patients going around called Arafat, Richard Burton and Gorbachev.  

The comedy mostly works in a laugh a minute movie that is entertaining more than insightful.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxU6FmkQV_E

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