Philippe Lacôte’s sophomore feature, Night of the Kings has been chosen as the Ivory Coast submission for the 93rd Academy Awards. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and went on to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival. Night of the Kings will be released by NEON, with plans to be announced at a later date.
Night of the Kings follows a young man on his first night in the infamous Ivorian prison, “La Maca.” Upon arriving, he is christened the “Roman,” or “Storyteller,” and must entertain his audience until morning, risking death should he fail. Under a blood-red moon, he crafts a tale weaving together the country’s mythological past and recent history, while around him, both prison and national politics threaten to boil over.
Lacôte wrote and directed the film which stars Koné Bakary, Steve Tientcheu, Rasmane Ouedraogo, Issaka Sawadogo, Digbeu Jean Cyrille, Abdoul Karim Konate, Anzian Marcel, Laetitia Ky and Denis Lavant.
Philippe Lacôte grew up in Abidjan near a movie theater – “Le 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 is followed by the feature film Run, the story of a wandering madman, selected in Cannes Un Certain Regard 2014. This selection confirmed his talent as a filmmaker and revealed a new voice from the African continent. Night of the Kings (original title “La Nuit Des Rois”), his second feature, is a dive into the largest prison in West Africa, during a night of red moon.
Night of the Kings marks the third Oscar submission by the Ivory Coast. The first was Black and White in Color in 1976, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The other film was Run, the debut feature by Philippe Lacôte.