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In 1860, a 35 year old Frenchman explores Araucania, an autonomous region in southern Chile. He travels with a local guide and carries a hand-made flag with him. He searches for Chief Mañil, but arrives too late, Mañil has just died. He goes on to meet his feared son Quilapan who is known to hate Europeans, but he manages to win his support and the backing of other Mapuche chiefs. They elect him King of Araucania and Patagonia, uniting their tribes for the first time in history.
The King is then confronted by the Chilean court of justice. His guide has turned him in and he now has to defend himself. His reasonings and conclusions seem flawless: Araucania is outside of Chile, so how can Chile condemn him? But the events are retold in the trial and relevant facts seem to differ…
Imprisoned in a gruesome cell, ill-fed, feverish, constantly ridiculed, he takes refuge in ecstatic dreams. Spiraling into delirium, he travels south through his Patagonian kingdom populated with mythical creatures. Having fought for his vision with all his might, he finally lets out his last breath as he reaches the end of the world.