IVORY COAST – OFFICIAL SUBMISSION – 2021 ACADEMY AWARDS, BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE
La Maca in the Ivory Coast is one of the world’s most notorious prisons. Its inner world is run by the inmates, in a complex and formal power structure. As Night of the Kings begins, the ruling boss Blackbeard asserts his tenuous grip on power by claiming a freshly arrived young inmate to be his new “Roman” – storyteller. It’s the night of the rare red moon, and to keep the peace, Blackbeard must provide his subjects with a new set of theatrics. If the “Roman” should fail, he can expect instant death.
So begins a mystical and magical odyssey into the heart of Ivorian mythology. The very nervous and inexperienced new “Roman” desperately recalls stories told to him by his aunt, who was “griot” – a West African storyteller. So “Roman” weaves the tale of the Zama King for his fascinated, rapt audience – and Night of the Kings erupts into a visual feast of fantasy, folklore, stories-within-stories with immense visceral power. The inmates of La Maca respond vocally and physically, their kinetic energy unable to be contained. Night of the Kings is a storyteller’s wonderland.
This screening is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and sponsored by TV5Monde and the Consulate General of Canada in Miami.