Critic’s Choice: ‘Zulu Summer’ follows an African royal in small-town Montana

Prince Sboniso Zulu, 'Zulu Summer'
Prince Sboniso Zulu in the documentary “Zulu Summer.”
(Interesting Human Media)

A genial, sweet-natured documentary about a real-life fairy tale, “Zulu Summer” may be just what you need in this summer of seething discontents.

Codirected by Joseph Litzinger and Eric Michael Schrader, the film chronicles the unlikely summer that Prince Sboniso Zulu, genuine African royalty, and two colleagues spent learning about America in Butte, Mont., more than 10,000 miles (and a 41-hour plane journey) from home.

The prince, who operates a small radio station in his home town of Nongoma, South Africa, made contact with an FM station in Butte about undertaking a people-to-people visit.

The Montanans were initially skeptical, but the Zulus won them over and spent the summer marveling at the Walmart and meeting and greeting local inhabitants as well as Bernie Sanders and the state’s lieutenant governor. Everyone ended up feeling good about themselves and each other, and how often does that happen?


“Zulu Summer.” 7:30 p.m. July 26, El Cid , 4212 Sunset Blvd. Also streaming on Amazon and iTunes.