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The King
The King
Documentary Feature
107 minutes
2018
Director(s): Eugene Jarecki
USA
 
Synopsis
Oregon Premiere

Director Eugene Jarecki takes Elvis Presley’s 1963 Rolls Royce on a sprawling musical road trip that explores the failed promise of the American dream. Ordinary citizens and celebrities ride along, singing or talking about what Elvis meant to them, framed by eloquent commentary from Van Jones, Chuck D, and Canadian Mike Myers, who witnessed the phenomenon but weren’t truly a part of it. Scenes of 20th century America’s political landscape are interspersed with archival footage showing Elvis’ rise from humble beginnings to his increasing isolation, depression, and mortifying death. The King shows us a country boy who lost his authenticity and became a king and a country that lost her democracy and became an empire. Also featuring Alec Baldwin, Emmylou Harris, Greil Marcus, and Ethan Hawke. 
Director’s Statement

Elvis like America was young once and beautifully awed. Elvis had his majesty when he landed on the world stage, just as America had hers. This is a movie very much about America—about the role that Elvis played in changes to the American story over the last hundred years. His life in many ways is a cautionary tale for America. The country faces similar challenges in the way our grandeur, our authenticity, our democracy has been undermined and threatened by capitalism, by money, by power. Money and power unraveled Elvis and I think it runs the risk of totally unraveling us unless we live up to something better. 
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