Rey

(Rey, l'histoire du Français qui voulait devenir Roi de Patagonie)
Chile/France 2017. Dir: Niles Atallah. 90 min. DCP

“Niles Atallah seems to (re)discover the cinema, another territory still and always virgin for those who seek to explore.”
NICOLAS AZALBERT, CAHIERS DU CINÉMA

“Atallah’s singular vision forms one of the more accessible and enjoyable avant-garde features of recent years.”
JAY WEISSBERG, VARIETY

VANCOUVER PREMIERE! The psychotropic sophomore feature of Chilean video artist and analogue alchemist Niles Atallah is a “bold, freakish marvel” (Jonathan Romney, Film Comment), on top of being one of the most extraordinarily elusive biopics in recent memory. In the 1860s, Frenchman Orélie-Antoine de Tounens traversed the southern jungles of Chile and persuaded the indigenous Mapuche people of Araucanía to crown him their king. Or did he appoint himself king? Or was he, as charged by Chilean authorities, a French spy, sent to stir colonial unrest among the natives? History isn’t sure and neither is Atallah’s visionary new film, which exploits the unknown — and unknowable — in de Tounens’s story by rendering it as five-star fever dream of the utmost weirdness. Faces are half-forgotten (courtesy of papier-mâché masks); Marcel Dzama-like creatures pop into existence. In Atallah’s most inspired conceit, the image itself teeters on the brink of self-destruction, the effect of burying the film’s celluloid footage, shot mostly in 2011, in his backyard!


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REVIEWS

“A weird and sometimes wonderful film, featuring moments of piercing, memorable strangeness.”

The Guardian | full review