Il primo re (2019)

# 15901 IMDb

Il primo re (2019

(Romulus & Remus: The First King)

Director: Matteo Rovere

Stars: Fabrizio Rongione, Alessandro Borghi, Max Malatesta, Vincenzo Pirrotta, Marina Occhionero

Drama, History (2h 03min)

Italy Italy, Belgium Belgium

Rated 7.1 after 1,676 votes on 03-Jul-19.

4 wins & 15 nominations


Romulus and Remus, two shepherds and loyal brothers, end up taking part to a journey that will lead one of them to be the founder of the greatest nation ever seen. However, the fate of the chosen one will pass from killing his own brother.


Matteo Rovere (director) Alessandro Borghi Alessio Lapice Fabrizio Rongione Michael Schermi Ludovico Succio Emilio De Marchi

Alessandro Borghi (Remo), Alessio Lapice (Romolo), Fabrizio Rongione (Lars il Vecchio), Massimiliano Rossi (Tefarie), Tania Garribba (Satnei la Vestale), Michael Schermi (Arant la Bestia), Max Malatesta (Veltur), Vincenzo Pirrotta (Cai il Sabino), Vincenzo Crea (Elaxantre il Ragazzo), Lorenzo Gleijeses (Purtnas il Cacciatore), Gabriel Montesi (Adieis il Gentile), Antonio Orlando (Erenneis), Fiorenzo Mattu (Mamercus), Martinus Tocchi (Lubces il Muto), Fabrizio Nobili (Guardia Albalonga), Ludovico Succio (Marce), Federico Diust (Tias), Danilo Sarappa (Picus), Riccardo Mioni (Nobile Albalonga), Marina Occhionero (Acca Larentia), Giovanni Esposito (Remo Bambino), Valerio La Sala (Romolo Bambino), Emilio De Marchi (Testa di Lupo), Marzia Pellegrino (Velia), Ludovico Micara (Aulo), Nina Fotaras (Ramtha), Luca Elmi (Maccus), Flavio Benedetti (Giovane Velienses), Anna Bruschetta (Giovane Velienses), Sara Celestini (Giovane Velienses), Matteo De Buono (Giovane Velienses), Gaia Forte (Giovane Velienses), Leon Mutti (Giovane Velienses), Adriano Novelli (Giovane Velienses), Mattias Novelli (Giovane Velienses), Ines Tocco (Giovane Velienses), Mauro Aversano (Velienses / Soldato Albalonga (uncredited)), Davide Balzanetti (Carceriere Albalonga (uncredited)), Loris Curci (Falco (uncredited)), Mattia Napoli (Velienses (uncredited))...

From the same director


Filippo Gravino (story), Francesca Manieri (story), Matteo Rovere (story), Filippo Gravino (screenplay), Francesca Manieri (screenplay), Matteo Rovere (screenplay)

Produced by

Luca Elmi (associate producer), Philippe Logie (associate producer), Elia Mazzoni (line producer), Andrea Paris (producer), Jean-Yves Roubin (co-producer), Joseph Rouschop (co-producer), Matteo Rovere (producer), Ines Vasiljevic (associate producer)



This film isn't as striking as Revenant or as thematically deep as Valhalla Rising, but it sure gets close.

I didn't choose to mention those two titles casually. Il Primo Re uses a similar range of storytelling devices: minimal dialogues, stunning visuals, a very realistic environment, metaphysical experiences. This provides the film a very immersive style, that can be perceived probably a bit slow, but that also elevates the release's quality.

The interesting part is that Il Primo Re reinterprets a well-known myth but stays faithful to its roots, and merges is with realistic historical settings. The villages, armaments, religions depicted mostly are very close to those that could've been during the pre-roman period.Obviously Il Primo Re mustn't be considered a historically accurate film, but it certainly gives the feel of that archaic period.

What I particularly appreciated was the choice of using latin as language. It is not the first time this happens, an example is Mel Gibson's The Passion, but in The Passion the pronunciation that was used was the scolastic one, which was developed in the middle ages (and I personally know that from my high-school studies of the language). In Il Primo Re they managed to use the original pronunciation of latin, and I believe probably they adopted an archaic vocabulary and sintax, which is admirable.

Criticisms can be drawn: the final climax is not that huge as the build up suggests (let's not forget italian films have a much more limited budget), it doesn't manage to be as thematically deep as the films I've mentioned earlier and sometimes it drastically shifts to being an action movie. I personally acknowledge these negatives, but still feel that the positive aspects outweight the negative ones. This film is so far unique in italian cinema, it definitely attempts at being something new, and therefore I think it deserves consideration


Actors speak their roles in preroman Latin.

3 total 


4 wins & 15 nominations 
BIFEST - Bari International Film Festival • Busto Arsizio Film Festival • Golden Ciak Awards • Golden Globes, Italy • Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists • Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival

Other titles

Il primo re ((original title); Italy) • Первый король (Russia) • Romulus & Remus: The First King (World-wide (English title))



Italy:T / Singapore:NC16


Groenlandia, Rai Cinema, Gapbusters (co-production), VOO (co-production), BeTV (co-production), Roman Citizen Entertainment (in association with) (as Roman Citizen), Casa Kafka Pictures (in association with), Belfius (in association with), Regione Lazio (support), Belgische Taxshelter voor Filmfinanciering (support), European Union (support), Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali (MiBAC) (support)


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