The Empire of Atlantium is a unique parallel sovereign state based in New South Wales, Australia.
Today’s film is the 2016 comedic documentary and biography Atlantium: The smallest country in Australia directed by Craig Rasmus. Featuring His Imperial Majesty Emperor George II A.K.A George Cruickshank.
Atlantium: The smallest country in Australia is a look into the small micro nation that was founded in 1981 in his parent’s backyard by George Cruickshank and his cousins in peaceful protest to the politics of the Cold War. Never intended as a joke the new self declared primarily non-territorial sovereign entity has grown over the past thirty five years to encompass more than 3500 citizens and has it’s own banking system, currency, legislation and judicial government as well as flag and diplomatic corps. In the film Emperor George II explains his motivations behind forming this nation and what it’s goals, ideals and philosophy en tale. Throughout the film we are introduced to a few members of the Atlantium cabinet who explain what their job is and their relation with the Emperor and to it’s relationship to other sovereign nations, most specifically Australia whom it shares borders with.
Before we get to far along into the review let me just say quickly that while told in a whimsical way Atlantium is actually a real sovereign nation that spans a total of 0.76 square kilometers in New South Wales Australia and is not a work of fiction. This is a truly amazing thing as apparently anyone can start up their own nation within the borders of another country as long as the claimant owns the property where they found the nation. This isn’t actually unheard of as both Vatican City and the Military Order of Malta are two such enveloped nations, both of whom are recognized by the United Nations. If this sounds to unbelievable don’t feel bad, I had to actually go to the website of the nation it’s self and see first hand that I hadn’t been fooled by a very clever and well put together practical joke but like the Emperor says “Atlantium isn’t a joking matter.” and from the interview on the documentary it is clear he takes his duties seriously. The nation it’s self is a non violent one and does not seek any territorial gains nor does it wish to be involved in the military matters that sometimes plague the United Nations, as such it has no standing army and sees it’s self more as diplomats hoping to spread the ideals of the nation to other lands peacefully. This effort is lead by the Emperor.
The Emperor himself comes off as friendly and self assured and has a natural charisma that even some well known leaders today can hardly muster and his message is one that most people can get behind I do believe. He believes in free borders, the rights and freedoms of individuals to peruse their goals without government interference (As long as you are not hurting anyone of course or you don’t ask for it.) and is a secular state that doesn’t officially state any religious affiliation and allows all faiths equal place within their borders. This is a very interesting concept that the United States has tried to do and is a lofty goal for the young nation to try to live up to and if George is a good at governing as he is at giving an interview it might just work out.
The Cinematography of Atlantium: The Smallest Country in Australia was done quite professionally and truly reminds me of some of the best documentaries I have seen over the years. Each scene is crystal clear which is always an important part of any documentary. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched a film of this nature and have it so blurry that it was practically impossible to see what was going on thus really ruining an otherwise engaging film, Atlantium however knocks it out of the park. The scenes are masterfully put together and shot telling a concise story and really gives a sense of patriotism to the small nation with it’s vivid images of it’s flag and the motorcade of the Emperor, (one little car proceeded by a footman, this isn’t a grandiose type of man.) to the bright and cheerful anthem playing of the record player.
The audio work of the film is also top notch. The voice of the Emperor is clear and present throughout the entire film and he is able to convey his message to the audience without any issues at all on a technical level. There are no artifacts picked up by the microphone and the musical score is both jaunty and thematically appropriate for a non fictional yet comical look at the new young nation.
Documentaries are hard to review as I have said before as it is all subjective on if you find the topic interesting or not. Normally I just try to rate them on their technical successes or failures and leave the actual topic alone but in this case I have to say I found this film very impressive. Not only does it succeed as a film but the fact that there was a whole nation that I had never even hear of (Me being something of a history and geography nerd) was truly fascinating to me. While I don’t encourage everyone to cut ties and try to make their own sovereign nation this film certainly shows that it is not only possible to do so but looked on with a great deal of mirth and respect by the nations they reside in. If you are like me and think politics are interesting when not just blared at you in a gross way then I very much encourage you to look into this short five minute long documentary and if nothing else you will see a very well produced film from an well known Australian director and his skilled team.