Night Of The Kings Full Review

A Brutal Tale Uncoiled By Delicate Storytelling



NIGHT OF THE KINGS released in Cinemas and Streaming Services in July 2021 and is written and directed by Philippe Lacôte (Run 2014), produced by Delphine Jaquet, Yanick Létourneau, Ernest Konan and Yoro Mbaye.

Set in Ivory Coast’s notorious ‘La Maca’ prison, Night Of The Kings is a spectacular thrilling tale of survival in one of the world’s most unforgiving environments.

“When a young man (first-timer Koné Bakary) is sent to an infamous prison, located in the middle of the Ivorian forest and ruled by its inmates, he is chosen by the boss ‘Blackbeard’ (Steve Tientcheu, BAFTA and Academy-Award nominated LES MISÉRABLES) to take part in a storytelling ritual just as a violent battle for control bubbles to the surface. After discovering the grim fate that awaits him at the end of the night, Roman begins to narrate the mystical life of a legendary outlaw to make his story last until dawn and give himself any chance of survival.”

Night of the Kings, weaves brutal reality and delicate imagination to create a wonderfully tense and sensitive tale, which unfolds in the ‘La Maca’ prison in Ivory Coast, where the skill set  of story teller director, Philippe Lacôte come to full fruition.

(Above) Koné Bakary in “Night of the Kings.” Neon ©

(Above) Laetitia Ky in "Night of the Kings". NEON ©

Philippe Lacôte combines intense masculinity that drips from the torso of it’s male dominant cast and leaves you questioning a wider pandemic of international and global injustice where prisons have become a social norm for young Ivorians, so ingrained into life, where prisoners rule within the concrete walls that is hidden amongst a jungle. This showcases a glimpse into the history of Lacôte and how he uses his experiences to unravel such an exhilarating narrative.

“Writer and Director Philippe Lacôte grew up in Ivory Coast’s largest city Abidjan near a movie theatre – the “Magic”. His work as a director has taken on several forms, before focusing in 2002 on the recent history of his country with CHRONICLES OF WAR IN THE IVORY COAST, a film on the edge between a documentary and a diary. It was followed by the feature film RUN, the story of a wandering madman, starring Abdoul Karim Konaté (who also stars in NIGHT OF THE KINGS) and Isaach De Bankole. RUN was selected for Cannes Un Certain Regard 2014 and was also Ivory Coast’s official Oscar submission that year.”

(Above) Director Philippe Lacôte NEON ©

(Below) Denis Lavant in "Night of the Kings" NEON ©

Overall, Night Of The Kings beautifully weaves fractured social infrastructure with myth, legend, nature and the human spirit of wanting to live yet inevitably having to accept death. Edited carefully, shot with energy and directed with craft. It’s one to watch and a film that deserves attention.


Here are a some more stills from the movie.

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