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The King of the Indies

average rating is 4 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Jul 11, 2023

Film Reviews
The King of the Indies
Directed by:
Gaetano Maria Mastrocinque
Written by:
Gaetano Maria Mastrocinque
Martino Gianni, Enrico Vedovini, Gabriele Innocenti, Elia Cicerchia

A fascinating documentary about an extraordinary event that takes place in an Italian city every year.


The event is called 'Saracen Joust' and the city it takes place in is Arezzo. It is a medieval-themed annual festival, in which the competitors dress up as knights, arm themselves with a lance, get on a horse and charge towards an armour-plated figure that is armed with a flail and holding a shield. The goal is to use the lance to strike the center of the shield and get the maximum amount of points and eight contestants are given the opportunity once every year to do so. The people who participate in this unique tournament come from the four quarters of the city, two from each one. The four quarters are: Porta del Foro, Porta Crucifera, Porta Sant'Andrea and Porta Santo Spirito. Once the event is complete, the two scores from each quarter are combined and whoever scores highest wins and receives a golden lance. And it is not just the competitors who dress up in medieval clothing, as pretty much everyone town dresses up and enthusiastically watches the event by the thousands.


The feauture uses interviews with individuals who have competed in Saracen Joust in order to provide information regarding this historical tournament that has been taking place every year since the Second World War. Their words often used in voice-over, these interviewees share their knowledge and experience and they include Martino Gianni, Enrico Vedovini, Elia Cicerchia and Gabriele Innocenti, all of whom have competed in these events.


After exploring the games and introducing the viewer to significant contestants, the film moves on to the beginning of the 138th Saracen Joust, which took place on the 22nd of June 2019. During quite a fascinating sequence, the audience is given an insight into what these tournaments actually are, how they unfold, from start to finish, with opening ceremonies, a crowd of thousands and the actual competitions.


As well as the interviewees and the 2019 festival, there is also archive footage of past tournaments and contestants. Frequent use of slow motion and split screen is utilised by the filmmakers and all this is often accompanied by dramatic music.


This is certainly an interesting documentary that introduces the audience to a remarkable yearly event that they will most likely want to see with their own eyes. It is a festival that places people into the Middle Ages, gives eight of them a chance to prove themselves and more importantly, it brings a community together for a good time and a reason to celebrate. And these features of the tournament are enough to make this documentary a viewing that will probably fascinate people around the world.



The King of the Indies is currently available on Amazon Prime.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Documentary, Indie Feature Film, Amazon Prime
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