Without the King | Mark Kilian
One year after taking on the American War on Drugs in Lockdown, USA (2006), documentarian Michael Skolnik crossed the Atlantic to shed light on a very different political challenge, that of the tiny south African nation of Swaziland, an ailing monarchy beset by poverty, social unrest, and a populace eager for change.
Employing a musical strategy similar to his earlier work on the Oscar-winning Tsotsi, South African-born composer Mark Kilian creates a soulful musical accompaniment to yet another story of African hope against a backdrop of seemingly insurmountable opposition by grafting traditional African vocals onto lyrical new age instrumentals, with several well-chosen detours into more traditionally-inspired songs (“Limbao,” “Jikele Maweni,” “Amaswati”) for added richness. The result is soul-searing and passionate, mournful yet hypnotic, a timeless tribute to a long-suffering people trapped as much by global apathy as by the parochialism of tradition.
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