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The King Is Alive (2000)

R  |   |  Drama  |  11 May 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,658 users   Metascore: 52/100
Reviews: 29 user | 35 critic | 25 from

When a bus breaks down in the desert, the passengers decide to stage "King Lear."




(with: inspiration from "King Lear"), , 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Peter Khubeke ...
Kanana (as Peter Kubheka)
Vusi Kunene ...
Chris Walker ...
Lia Williams ...


While shifting airports by bus in Africa, a group of passengers is driven to the middle of nowhere in the desert by the driver that is following a defective compass. They run out of gas and they reach a ghost village inhabited by a single man, Kanana. One passenger that has experience with desert gives five advices to the others to survive in the spot, among them to keep the spirit high, while he travels through the desert seeking for help. One intellectual in the stranded group suggests the performance of King Lear to keep the morale of the survivors. Along the days, while hope decreases, the tension increases among the survivors. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


As the sand shifts...madness nears.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and language | See all certifications »



| |



Release Date:

11 May 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dogme 4  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$17,929 (USA) (11 May 2001)


$103,505 (USA) (10 August 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(TV) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

In Memoriam Brion James See more »


References Grease (1978) See more »


Every 1's a Winner
Written by Errol Brown
Performed by Hot Chocolate
Courtesy of Chocolate/RAK Publishing
EMI Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A busload of European tourists, stranded in a deserted mining town in an African desert, attempt to perform Shakespeare's KING LEAR as they struggle to survive and stay sane.
13 July 2003 | by (Venice Beach, CA) – See all my reviews

I was inspired to write this because the other review was so dismissive of the film. The set-up may be contrived, but I found Levring's film compelling, visually inventive, richly atmospheric, and often surprising. The relationships among the characters drew me in and the performances were gripping. All told, the film provides an inspiring example of the Dogma approach to filmmaking that ventures beyond the formulaic Hollywood mold. Props to Levring and the actors!

4 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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