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Agustí Villaronga's Born a King

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2018: #74. Agustí Villaronga’s Born a King

Born a King

Spanish auteur Agusti Villaronga has maintained a prolific resume over the past decade, but one would hardly know it stateside as his last title made available (and not via theatrical release) was his 2010 Black Bread, which was Spain’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film that year. Villaronga is still best remembered for his shock cinema of the 1980s, notably his 1986 debut In a Glass Cage, which was heavily championed by John Waters, and his 1989 sophomore film Moon Child which starred Lisa Gerrard and won him a spot in the Cannes competition. Villaronga would only release one feature in the 1990s (1997’s 99.9), but over the past five years, the director has been more active than ever. 2015 saw him release The King of Havana (which competed in San Sebastian) and the documentary El Testament de la Rosa. He followed that in 2017 with Uncertain Glory. However, his international profile could benefit from his latest, Born a King, a UK produced venture which stars Ed Skrein and profiles a fourteen-year-old- Arab prince who is sent to London by his father Prince Abd Al-Aziz on a diplomatic mission to secure the formation of his country in the 1920s.

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Release Date/Prediction: San Sebastian has been Villaronga’s welcoming platform (competing in 2002, 2010, and 2015), but he’s appeared in comp at Cannes (1989’s Moon Child) and in Berlin (2000’s The Sea). Born a King could also benefit from the ambitions of producer Andres Vicente Gomez (1992’s Belle Epoque), who would likely be trying to secure a prominent festival premiere. Villaronga could make his return to Berlin after a eighteen years with Born a King—otherwise, a Cannes sidebar could also be potentially secured as the project is currently in pre-production after filming across London and Saudi Arabia.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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