The experimental take on the story of a nineteenth-century French adventurer who claimed to be King of Patagonia boldly blends historical facts and fictionalised account, employing various formats, animation and puppets.
Orélie-Antoine de Tounens was a French lawyer who went to South America in1860, claiming that the Mapuche natives elected him ruler of Araucanía and Patagonia.
In the version Atallah chooses to relate, which took seven years in the making, de Tounens was a semi-delusional adventurer who travelled with his guide, Rosales, to Mapuche territory, long at war with the Chilean government. Fourteen months later Rosales betrayed Orélie-Antoine to the Chilean authorities, who declared him insane after interrogation.
“Buried under layers of myths and legends, there was just enough concrete evidence of this man and his kingdom to prevent them both from slipping into total oblivion. However, there were so many holes in the story that only a fragmented vision could be pieced together at best. King came into being as I sifted through the many pieces of this king’s story. I imagined a film that evoked an analogous experience in the spectator: a journey through a realm of forgotten dreams, the decaying memories and fantasies of a ghost.” (Niles Atallah)
Born in 1978 in California. He has a BA in art from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Niles is an acknowledged writer and director of features, music videos, video art work, installations and short films. He is based in Santiago, Chile, where he founded Diluvio, a film production company, and also works as a director of photography.