Intrigued by cruise ships and the people who frequent them, Sophie Dros’ fascinating documentary focuses on an extravagant Scottish Baron whose love of luxury liners masks a very human need for affection and validation.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2020
The massive cruise ships that slink by each other in King of the Cruise resemble floating micro-societies where, as director Sophie Dros puts it, “passengers are confined… with a few thousand people who don’t really know each other. There is no escape. Which does not seem to bother anyone.” Whether the notion of the cruise appeals or revolts, this entertaining documentary invites us to set sail.
Among the passengers is Ronald Busch Reisinger, an avid cruise fan. This larger-than-life personality, both in his body mass and in the seemingly outlandish stories that he tells, is quick to announce to anyone who’ll listen: “I own a county.” Whether sporting a kilt as Baron of Inneryne or a royal red cloak as king of a bit of land in Africa, he is a striking and incongruous figure. As the film coolly observes life aboard, from waiters cajoling breakfasting patrons with “happy coffee!” to motivational pep talks about exercise delivered to folk becalmed in their chairs, in his cabin, the Baron’s garrulous façade slips. Ultimately, despite being “born with a gold spoon” in his mouth, in his search for recognition and to fend off loneliness, Ronnie resembles any other common mortal. — Sandra Reid
About the Filmmaker
Sophie Dros is an Amsterdam-based director whose films tackle politically incorrect subjects and lifestyles outside of social norms. She has made documentaries about genderfluidity (Genderbende, 2017), sex dolls (My Silicone Love, 2015) and S&M relationships (Rubber Romance, 2014).