‘Night of the Kings’ Review: Visionary Ivory Coast Prison Movie Offers a Figurative Kind of Escape — Through Storytelling

‘Night of the Kings’ Review: Visionary Ivory Coast Prison Movie Offers a Figurative Kind of Escape — Through Storytelling
Set partly in Ivory Coast’s “Mad Max”-like MacA correctional facility and partly in the imagination of its newest inmate, “Night of the Kings” feels radically different from most films set behind bars, and not just because of its one-of-a-kind location. Naturally, the wild plots and power games one typically associates with the genre still feature, but “Night” stands apart — if not necessarily above — as director Philipe Lacôte zeroes in on an unusual tradition within those walls: that of the “Roman.”

A variation on the West African griot (a kind of troubadour storyteller or bard), the Roman is tasked with spinning amusing tales for his fellow prisoners — an honorific role to which “Night” attaches heightened life-and-death stakes: In Lacôte’s version, the Roman will be killed when his story concludes. And so, like some kind of modern-day Scheherazade, this unwitting protagonist (first-timer Koné Bakary) puts everything he can into entertaining the “captive audience,
See full article at Variety »

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