“The White King” is a 2016 British SF film written and directed by Alex Helfrecht and Jörg Tittel.
It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name (A fehér király/The White King, 2005) written by György Dragomán.
“The White King” had its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and its international premiere at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.
“In “History and Utopia,” the Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran speculated about whether it’s “easier to confect a utopia than an apocalypse.”
Utopia and its discontents, so central to Eastern European writers, are central to Gyorgy Dragoman’s darkly beautiful novel.
A scathing portrait of life in a totalitarian society, “The White King” is both brutal and disarmingly tender. Dragoman’s answer to Cioran’s question is plain: Utopia creates its own hell.”
“It’s an impressively realised world; the “Homeland” is an agrarian totalitarian state in which any form of dissent is quashed by jackboot justice.
The makers have clearly thought about what a future reversion to twentieth century-style tyranny would look like, and the design, anthems and details all ring true.
We see a new world order that brings its society back to the soil, damning technology, applauding the simple life. This totalitarian world parallels Hitler’s pride, where the community stands for hours in grocery lines, eat bread and watered soup if they don’t have connections with the higher ups, and wear their only 2 or 3 outfits if they haven’t contributed to the recent revolution.”
Co-directors Alex Helfrecht and Jörg Tittel devise a convincingly scary dystopia crossing Nazi Germany with Stalin’s Russia.”
It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name written by György Dragomán and follows Djata (Lorenzo Allchurch) growing up in a dictatorship, without access to the rest of the world, while dealing with persecution against him and his parents by the government.
Set in a nameless Communist country based on Romania, where Dragoman was raised, “The White King” is narrated by Djata, an 11-year-old boy whose father has been sent to a labor camp for a crime — signing “an open letter of protest” against the government — that brings ruin to his family.
Djata’s mother loses her teaching job, and Djata, now “unreliable from a political point of view,” is expelled from Communist youth organizations, effectively ending his education.
Alex Helfrecht was born on April 22, 1979 in Oxford, England. She is a producer and director, known for The White King (2016), Battle for Britain (2011) and Testudo (2008). She has been married to Jörg Tittel since September 1, 2007.
Jörg Tittel was born in Belgium, son of Joanna Bruzdowicz and Jürgen Tittel. In 1998, Jörg moved to New York City, where he graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and the Stella Adler Conservatory. To finance his studies, he worked for a variety of videogame magazines, including Next Gen, Official Dreamcast Magazine, Famitsu DC and others. After acting in numerous stage productions, he moved to Los Angeles to work as a game designer and writer on video games, including Activision’s ‘Minority Report’, based on Steven Spielberg’s movie.
Jörg’s work spans across film, theatre, games, graphic novels and beyond. His most recent success is graphic novel ‘Ricky Rouse Has a Gun‘, an action comedy set in China. Boston Globe named it one of the Best Books of 2014.
Together with his wife, Alex Helfrecht, and producer Philip Munger, Jörg founded London and New York based Oiffy. Their first feature film, scifi drama The White King (2016), starring Jonathan Pryce, Agyness Deyn, Fiona Shaw, among others, was shot in the summer of 2015, premiered in 2016.
The New York Times reviews “The White King”: