Night of the Kings: Lacote’s Drama-Fantasy

Philippe Lacôte  directed Night of the Kings (French: La Nuit des rois), a drama-fantasy, selected as the Côte d’Ivoire entry for the Best International Feature Oscar, making the shortlist of 15 films.



The film premiered at the 2020 Venice Film Fest and also played at the Toronto Film Fest.

A young pickpocket (Bakary Koné) is sent to “La Maca,” a prison of Ivory Coast in the middle of the forest.

The new arrival is then designated by the Boss to be the new “Roman,” and as such, must tell stories to the other prisoners.

He relates the origin story of Zama King, a gangster who roamed Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s largest city, during the country’s post-electoral chaos in the 2010s.

Combining mythmaking with facts, Lacôte makes the tale more timely by inserting clips of former President Laurent Gbagbo, who had resisted his election loss.

Neon acquired the US rights to the film in September 2020.

The film is produced by Delphine Jaquet (Banshee Films, France), Yanick Létourneau (Peripheria, Canada), Ernest Konan (Wassakara Productions, Côte d’Ivoire), and Yoro M’Baye (Yennenga Production, Senegal).

The cast also includes Isaka Sawadogo, Steve Tientcheu, Rasmané Ouédraogo, Abdoul Karim Konaté, Laetitia Ky and Denis Lavant.