The King Is Alive

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The King Is Alive
The King Is Alive VideoCover.jpeg
Directed byKristian Levring
Written byKristian Levring
Anders Thomas Jensen
Produced byVibeke Windeløv
StarringMiles Anderson
Romane Bohringer
David Bradley
David Calder
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Brion James
CinematographyJens Schlosser
Edited byNicholas Wayman Harris
Music byJan Juhler
Distributed byNordisk Film Distribution A/S
Release dates
  • May 2000 (2000-05) (Cannes)
  • 5 January 2001 (2001-01-05)
Running time
109 minutes

The King Is Alive is a 2000 drama film directed by Kristian Levring. The fourth film to be done according to the Dogme 95 rules, it was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.[1][2]


A group of tourists are stranded in the Namibian desert when their bus loses its way and runs out of fuel. Canned carrots and dew keep the tourists alive, but they are helplessly entrapped, completely cut off from the rest of the world. As courage and moral fibre weaken and relationships grow shaky, Henry, a theatrical manager, persuades the group to put on Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear. As the tourists work their way through Henry's hand-written scripts for an audience of only the sand dunes and one distant, indigenous watcher, real life increasingly begins to resemble the play.[3]



On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, The King Is Alive holds an approval rating of 60%, based on 68 reviews, and an average rating of 6/10. Its consensus reads, "Though the plot feels rather contrived, the ensemble acting in this Dogme 95 film is good."[4] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "Mixed or average reviews".[5]


  1. ^ "THE KING IS ALIVE". Festival de Cannes. 2018. Archived from the original on 20 February 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  2. ^ Griggs, Y. (2014). Screen Adaptations: Shakespeare's King Lear: A close study of the relationship between text and film. Screen Adaptations. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 171. ISBN 978-1-4081-4400-8. Retrieved 20 February 2018. Kristian Levring's The King is Alive is a product of the Danish Dogme New Wave, a movement which emerged in the mid-nineties as a backlash against Hollywood's global domination of the film industry. The democratising and anarchic intent of the Dogme New Wave is outlined in its manifesto; its aim is to bring about 'the ultimate democratisation of the cinema' by envisioning ...
  3. ^ Dancyger, K.; Rush, J. (2012). Alternative Scriptwriting: Successfully Breaking the Rules. Taylor & Francis. p. 115. ISBN 978-1-136-05370-2. Retrieved 20 February 2018. Kristian Levring's The King Is Alive goes even further in elevating the character layer and in downplaying the plot layer. Levring also alters the nature of the antagonist. A group of British, American, and French tourists is in transit on a bus in sub-Saharan Africa. Unbeknownst to them, the bus's compass is broken and they end up lost. They arrive at an abandoned mining site. One of the members must walk for 5 days to the nearest town to try to effect a rescue. The others must organize ...
  4. ^ "The King is Alive (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Flixter. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Critic Reviews for The King is Alive - Metacritic". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 24 December 2018.

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