And the King Said, What a Fantastic Machine

directed by
Axel Danielson
directed by
Maximilien Van Aertryck
Sweden, Denmark
Swedish, French, German, Arabic, English
closed captions
audio description
english subtitles
film contact
film contact email
[email protected]
film website

What does it mean to capture images, both still and moving, and what has it done to shape our world and how we interact with each other? This profound documentary traces the 200-plus-year history of the camera, how it has been embraced, and how it has been exploited, in this experimental treatment on technology. —M.G.

Nowadays it’s almost impossible not to take for granted our ability to capture and play back images. From the advent of photography to the billions of cameras existing today, image-making is so ubiquitous that the scope of its impact seems infinite. Part sociological essay, part postmodern collage, this documentary contextualizes our relationship to the camera’s image and the resulting social, historical, and biological consequences. From humanity’s grimmest moments to the viral YouTube videos now burned into our brains, directors Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck use keen editing and a sharp sense of humor to create an enthralling—and often contrasting — patchwork of archival footage. Both critical of and fascinated by its weighty topic, AND THE KING SAID, WHAT A FANTASTIC MACHINE strikes an impressive tonal balance, resulting in an exuberant and accessible dissection of “reality” in a post-camera world. —D.O.

Content Warning: This film contains material that may be difficult for some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

This film is presented in loving memory of TOBY DEVAN LEWIS.

Only at Playhouse Square
Ad Hoc Docs Competition

Community Partners

Consulate of Sweden Cleveland Ohio
Intermuseum Conservation Association (ICA)
Swedish American Chamber of Commerce - Ohio
moCa Cleveland