7.0/10
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2 user 2 critic

Letter to the King (2014)

Brev til Kongen (original title)
Letter to the King portrays five people on a day trip from a refugee camp to Oslo, a welcome change in an otherwise monotonous life. But we soon realize that each and every one of them has ... See full summary »

Director:

Hisham Zaman
Reviews
5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ali Bag Salimi Ali Bag Salimi ... Mirza
Zheer Durhan Zheer Durhan ... Zirek
Nazmi Kirik Nazmi Kirik ... Miro
Hassan Dimirci Hassan Dimirci ... Champion
Ivan Anderson Ivan Anderson ... Beritan
Derin Kader Derin Kader ... Lorin
Raouf Saraj Raouf Saraj ... Rebin
Amin Senatorzade Amin Senatorzade ... Akbar
Catherine Elisabeth Howells Catherine Elisabeth Howells ... Hilde
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Iselin Doret Brandt Bestvold Iselin Doret Brandt Bestvold ... Ingrid
Edit

Storyline

Letter to the King portrays five people on a day trip from a refugee camp to Oslo, a welcome change in an otherwise monotonous life. But we soon realize that each and every one of them has an agenda for their trip. All five will make decisive choices on this day, as they discover happiness, humiliation, love or fulfill a long-awaited revenge. The five stories are tied together by a letter, written by eighty-three year old Mirza. Mirza wants to hand over the letter to the King personally. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In every country, in every city, there are people who dream of another life.

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Language:

Kurdish | Norwegian | English | Persian

Release Date:

17 January 2014 (Norway) See more »

Also Known As:

Letter to the King See more »

Filming Locations:

Oslo, Norway See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

NOK 6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Film Farms, Zaman Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
Halfway failed frame story attempt to showcase the hearts and minds of a handful of refugees traversing the city of Oslo
6 March 2015 | by JvH48See all my reviews

Saw this one at the Noordelijk film festival 2014 in Leeuwarden (NL). The stories are very loosely tied together by means of a one-day bus ride to Oslo, all passengers coming from a refugee camp where rarely something happens, and the city trip is a welcome change. After arrival we follow five participants on their respective journeys through the city.

The frame story, as well as the title, comes from elderly Mirza who prepared a letter to the king. He is planning to deliver that letter in an attempt to get a passport, so that he can return home to bury family members. We see Mirza on his way to the palace, while a voice-over reads part of the letter from time to time. This serves very well to provide the necessary context of what these people binds together, and indirectly gives an overview of what separates them from the people in Norway.

Mirza's purpose may be clear from the outset, contrary to the others we follow that day. Each of them has a hidden agenda, as we shall see when each of the stories progresses. What they are up to seems benign initially, but later on it escalates to something less benign or even involving violence. Each finds his or her own way through the city, meets old acquaintances and other referred to, eventually making up a colorful portrait of these immigrants.

From the same film maker I had seen Before The Snowfall a few days before. I could not resist some comparison. Both are carried by a frame story that serves to bind a series of short stories running in parallel. The binding element for Before The Snowfall may seem more artificial, merely thrown in to sight-see us along a series of unconnected people and cities (as shamelessly confessed by the director). Nevertheless, in that case it worked very well for me. Alas, it failed for me in Letter To The King, where the parallel story lines are only connected via the initial bus ride and the common origin of the passengers. But the stories scatter around when progressing through the running time of the movie. The respective passengers show neither a common purpose nor any similarity in behavior.

All in all, I can imagine that some people find it a refreshing approach to let these people speak and act, if only to make us aware of their background and history, fundamentally different from ours. The frame story is artificial, and I dearly missed a common binding element in the respective story lines. Maybe I was expecting too much after having seen Before The Snowfall of the same film maker some days earlier, where the frame story worked very well in comparison with Letter To The King. Anyway, the festival visitors disagree with my conclusion. This movie ranked 16th (out of 64) with an above average score of 8.3.


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