La nuit des Rois


by Philippe Lacôte
Ivory Coast, Senegal, France, Canada | 2020 | 93 min | OV with Engl. Subs


La Maca (“Maison d’Arrêt et de Correction d’Abidjan”), the prison of Abidjan, located in the middle of the forest on the outskirts of the city, is one of the most overcrowded in West Africa. One of the inmates, the aging and ailing prisoner Blackbeard is an increasingly controversial “dangoro.” To maintain his power, he resumes the tradition of the “novel,” a ritual that consists of forcing a prisoner to tell stories throughout the night.

In a griot role, the young street criminal Zama must tell a story by sunrise if he wants to save his life and prevent the prison from descending into chaos. He chooses the story of notorious gang leader Zama King … In a fascinating way, oscillating between griot story and fantasy tale, this visually stunning epic from the Ivory Coast was submitted as an entry for the 2021 Academy Awards in the Best International Film cate-gory and was one of 15 films shortlisted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Director Philippe Lacôte
Director Philippe Lacôte

Philippe Lacôte grew up in Abidjan near a cinema – the Magic. His work as a director had taken various forms before he made his debut in 2002 with “Chronicles of War in
the Ivory Coast,” a film on the border between documentary and diary, he focused on his country’s recent history. This was followed by the feature film “Run”, the story of a wandering madman, which was selected in Cannes 2014 at ‘Un certain regard’. This selection confirmed his talent as a filmmaker and showed a new voice of the African continent. “La Nuit des Rois / Night of the Kings” his second feature film, is a dive into the largest prison in West Africa during a red moon night.