“Night of The Kings” is inspired by a real-life tradition at the secluded “La Maca” prison in the Ivory Coast. The protagonist, a pickpocket, is chosen by the Boss to be the new “Roman” and must tell a story to the other prisoners. Awaiting his fate, he begins to narrate the mystical life of the “Zama King”, a legendary outlaw.
Operating as a modern-day Sheherezade, he goes from realism to magic, borrowing from political fact and legend, in a story that lasts through the night. The film was conceptualised from the director’s experiences of visiting the notorious prison as a child. It offers an enriching portrait of the colourful universe inside the prison, riddled with its own lore, histories, hierarchies and rituals.
Featuring visceral performances and enigmatic song and dance sequences, the film transports you through time in a celebration of oral history. Through this, the director teases out the journey of young men coming of age in a crisis zone.
*Available only until 8 April
Venice International Film Festival 2020
Toronto International Film Festival 2020: Winner, Amplify Voices Award 2021
Sundance Film Festival 2021: Featured in the Spotlight Section,
New York Film Festival 2020
International Film Festival of Rotterdam 2021: Winner, Youth Jury Award
Ivory Coast’s official Oscar entry for the Best International Feature Film Category
French, Dioula, Nouchi (Ivorian Slang)
France, Côte d'Ivoire, Canada, Senegal