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Without the King

Rating:No Rating
Genre:Documentary
Release Date:April 25, 2008
Running time:84 minutes
Cast:His Majesty King Mswati III, Her Royal Highness Princess Sikhany, Her Majesty Queen LaMbikiza, Mphandhlana Shongwe
Director:Michael Skolnik
Producer:Paola Mendoza, Michael Skolnik
Distributor:First Run Features

Description: The country of Swaziland is an absolute monarchy on the African continent. Its leader, King Mswati III, faces huge challenges as he fights to save his people from starvation and the worst AIDS crisis in the world. At a startling 31 years, Swaziland has the lowest life expectancy in the world. These problems have given birth to an underground revolutionary movement intent on bringing democracy to the country. The Royals' lead a lavish lifestyle, replete with palaces for each of the King's fourteen wives, a fleet of expensive cars, designer wardrobes, and schooling abroad for his 22 children, while the majority of the people live in poverty. A group of young "freedom fighters" attempt to remove the King from power and form a constitutional monarchy. Their anger results in protest rallies and violent clashes with the police. When the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is 42.6%, the highest in the world, hope for survival begins to be questioned. At the center of all these worlds is the King's eldest daughter, Princess Sikhanyiso. When she returns home to attend the annual Reed Dance, where over 75,000 bare-chested virgins dance in front of the King, hoping to become his next wife, the Princess begins to question the role of the monarchy. As her father becomes more oblivious to the dire situation plaguing the country, her concern about a possible revolution becomes heightened. She is left with some tough decisions; what will become of her country and what will she do about it.

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