In 1985 the exquisitely-wrought Argentine comedy-drama King and his Movie earned international awards including the Venice Film Festival's Silver Lion for "First Film." It is the story of an obsessed filmmaker's attempts to make his long-dreamed of epic account of the King of Patagonia and Araraucania. Unfortunately, the director meets major obstacles at every turn. First of all, word leaked out to the press that the director, Chaves, was making his magnum opus and he must constantly dodge them while feverishly attempting to execute his preproduction tasks. His biggest headache comes from his search for the perfect actor to portray his king. When all of the professional auditions are rejected, Chaves turns to the street. Unfortunately, he chooses a street-dwelling hippie, who mistake Chaves and his assistants for cops and flees. He later shaves his head to help hide. Still the determined Chaves manages to catch up and convince him to play the part. Finally Chaves assembles cast and crew and prepares to go south to shoot the film. Unfortunately, his backer suddenly withdraws with all the film's finances and flees abroad leaving Chavez with no money with which to pay his production people. Many of the actors immediately abandon ship and once again Chaves hits the streets to find his players. He must also pare his crew down to the bare minimum. After an arduous journey, the group make it to the locale. By this time they are so broke that they cannot afford lodging and end up staying at an orphanage until an actor makes untoward advances towards a youngster and gets them booted out. About this time, the crew, not wanting to sleep in tents, take off. The cast joins them. Despite this final crushing blow, Chaves will not abandon the film and so portrays the king himself, using mannequins for extras to create some of the films most haunting and surreal scenes.
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