The 8th of August, 1914. Cameroon. King Rudolf (Adetokumboh M’Cormack) is receiving very troubling news about the Belgian King Leopold killing ten million of his fellow people from Cameroon. Sad, troubled and excruciating times are ahead for him and his Kingdom but at least he can count on the support of his German “brother” and ally Kaiser Wilhelm II (Raphael Corkhill), or at least that what he thinks because, at the same time in Germany, Wilhelm II is changing his mind about black people. Wilhelm II feels like the “black disease” has made its way into his home. Will the friendship between the two sovereigns rules of their Kingdoms or will the greed for power and white supremacy from Kaiser Wilhelm II make a brutal and abrupt end to it?
The thing you notice in this film is not just the emotional and captivating true story but the stunning combination of the incredible cinematography, gorgeous costumes, and great props. When we follow King Rudolf, his beautiful Queen Emily (Constance Ejuma) and his people in Cameroon, we see the typical African clothing (the long robes decorated with the exuberant and traditional jewellery), the perfectly chosen props such as the typical old handwritten letters or the wooden furniture and thanks to the wonderful cinematography, we can feel the African heat instantly. However, when M’Cormack takes us to Berlin, the heat changes into cold weather and the long wardrobes become the typical German dictator clothes (very polished with sword and many decorations).
When making a film about war, you can either show the more violent, bloody and explosive stories or you can go for the more emotional, personal and up-close ones. In the case of “The German King”, M’Cormack and his team decided to go for the latter. If you want to bring those stories to life in the best way possible, then you need to perfect cast, that is exactly what this movie has. First of all, there’s M’Cormack who’s gripping, intriguing and touching as the King who wants to do good for his family, friends, and people. By his side, we recognize the delightful Ejuma (“The Zim”, “Yemi’s Dilemma”) as the ferocious, strong and devoted Queen Emily. If you are in need of a skillful actor who can put on an ice-cold, headstrong and determined German dictator, then Raphael Corkhill (“The Goldfinch”, “The Blacklist”) is your go-to guy, especially after you’ve seen him in this movie. Exception support comes from Scottie Thompson (“Crown Vic”, “Epiphany”) as Empress Augusta Victoria and Kwabena Darkwah (“October ’96”, “I Want Him Dead”) as Alexandre.
After being shown at the Ecrans Noirs Film Festival, LA Shorts International Film Festival, and BronzeLens Film Festival, it becomes very clear that The German King needs MORE screening opportunities. If you want to see an authentic, beautiful and greatly performed film about history, then you should support “The German King” for sure!
Liselotte Vanophen – Film and Celebrity Reporter