Johannes Holzhausen: The Royal Train

The daughter of King Michael 1 of Romania (who died in 2017), Princess Margareta, and her husband Radu, travel in the train of her father to meet the people and have them remember him and the good old monarchy that came to an end in 1947, when the communists took over. The train stops at small stations, where the local authorities are nervously preparing the royal welcome. Red carpet and all that. And the royal staff prepares equally how to arrive, a scenario is needed.

That’s the red thread of a film, that with humour and warmth takes the viewer to the venues of the couple in Bucharest introducing the staff that helps them to keep the memories of the monarchy and the King alive. The most important person in that respect is for me the young man, Adrian, who searches for documents and artefacts of interest for the Princess. He is a passionate monarchist searching/ hoping for the return to old times – you are a Don Quichote, an old lady says to him, if you need a Sancho Panza, I am there for you – he is the one, who visits the old ladies, who remember the King and the royalty with big love.

In scenes like that the director manages – with his flair for creative storytelling – to balance all the wonderful absurd scenes of royal protocol, like how to approach the Princess in a correct way. Three steps backwards, when you have got your diploma and then you can turn around… like if it had been the Danish queen. It’s still very much alive and popular. What is most interesting in this film is, when the old royalists remember the time, where they were not allowed to celebrate the monarchy during the time of Ceaușescu.

Austria, Germany, 2019, 90 mins.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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