The Boy Who Was a King / Момчето, което беше цар (Bulgaria, 2011)

directed by Andrey Paounov, documentary, 90 min, eng subtitles
written by Andrey Paounov

Declared King (or Tsar) at the age of seven, Simeon II of Bulgaria was ousted and banished aged nine by a Communist dictatorship, only to return triumphantly some 55 years later in 2001 as Prime Minister. His journey from boy king to party leader is unprecedented and offers excellent opportunities for biographical portrayal. Yet, renowned Bulgarian director Andrey Paounov's documentary eschews mere hagiography, aiming instead for a bigger, bolder look at the symbolic power of royalty. On another lever, it shows the harsh reality of politics - and Simeon's term as Prime Minister is by no means a Hollywood happy ending. Paounov's telling use of archive footage is fascinating, expertly blending raw history into his subtle, allusive and slightly ironic investigation. The results are amazing: a revelatory composite portrait of both a man and a country still torn between the pull of a sovereign past and an uncertain political future.

RiverRun International Film Festival 2012 (Best Documentary Feature)
FOCAL International Awards 2012 (Best Use of Footage in a Factual Production)