A significant prison film underscoring the power of storytelling and magic realism from the African Continent

“I don’t make a lot of movies … I just make the ones that are important to me”

– Director Philippe Lacote in an interview with CNN entitled “Machetes and Microbes: Why Philippe Lacôte Prison Drama Cuts Near Bones “(September 8, 2020)

FRench-Ivorian filmmaker Philippe Lacôte has made two films Run (2014) and Night of the Kings (2020), both were sent to Oscar and Côte d’Ivoire (foreign name: Ivory Coast), in the following years. Both of these movies offer weddings of fiction and fiction, and they all feature world-renowned theaters that play a major role. Run
with Cachte d’Ivoire-born Isaach de Bankole (a player of Jim Jarmusch in Limits on Control / Coffee and Cigarettes / Ghost Dog-Samurai Way; Claire Denis actress in White / Chocolate Items) and Night of the Kings with Denis Lavant (Leos Carax player in Holy Motors / Bridge Lovers); Claire Denis actress in Good job) working with non-local professionals and elan.

Roman sees MACA prison
external upon arrival

Night of the Kings and a film about the first day and night of a new prisoner, whose real name has not been revealed in the entire film, at the Côte d’Ivoire prison in La MACA (Maison d’Arrêt et de Correction d’Abidjan). It’s a strange prison — it works like an open prison, inside well-closed walls. The prisoners are controlled, not by armed police officers outside but by a prisoner named Dangoro and other inmates. The Dangoro (Steve Tientcheu, who played a major role in the 2019 video directed by Ladj Ly called Poor, Oscar nominee and Cannes Jury award-winning film) controls other prisoners according to internal rules, rules, and superstitions changed over time with inmates. Prison officials / officers, armed with assault rifles, can do just that. As the new inmate is brought to the prison in an open truck with an armed guard nearby, Dangoro examines a young man 20 years of age or younger and declares the new prisoner a “Roman.” The observer slowly learns the meaning of the peculiar Roman word for baptism. The Roman, in prison, had to wear an elaborate costume and tell a story all night long to all the inmates of the Roman prison as Scheherazade did to survive. One thousand nights. In the case of the Romans, he learned that he had to keep his listeners up all night will see the sunrise the next day.

Blackbeard, a patient with Dongoro, is watching
challenging his leadership in the MACA

Wwhile many observers will be fascinated by the Roman art of storytelling he has developed from his knowledge of Ivory Coast road conflicts and his ability to recall the Ivory Coast oral history and legends told by his superiors as he grew up, director Lacôte’s original writings, glasses beyond his appearance . What the Romans describe and carefully examine the violence in Côte d’Ivoire after and between the two civil wars (2002-2007 and 2010-2011), the causes of that violence, the old seeds that have been planted for centuries in the minds of Ivory Coast. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. its final game in accordance with MACA’s internal code changed over time with inmates. All of this is observed by the prison warden and his superiors and acts as if the neo-colonial rulers are on their knees, seemingly unable to comprehend the underlying problems.

A Roman tells his story, dressed
Roman uniforms while other prisoners listen

In order to understand the significance of the film, the strangest thing before the film can be released, broadcast by CNN radio mentioned above, must be viewed in a positive light. In December 2019, the director of the film Philippe Lacôte was attacked at night in the streets of Abidjan (the capital of Côte d’Ivoire), by gangsters with machetes called “microbes” in the film. Night of the Kings he was said to be a member) leaving leader Lacôte with head, hand, and leg injuries that required three surgical surgeries to recover a bit and release the film. Mr. Lacôte is an excellent artist who creates his own paintings. Its screenplay for Night of the Kings is rooted in the authenticity of Ivory Coast, history and myths that can be fictional.

Only (Denis Lavant)
he came to save the Romans

Silence helps Roman with the idea of ​​expanding its myths

in order to survive, the Roman begins by recounting the realities of Zama King, the former insect leader, who was supposed to kill him, when his real crime was only to seize. To prolong the story, a Roman returns for several years to portray Zama King and his blind father in the suburbs of Côte d’Ivoire, under siege by the military. At the behest of a quiet activist named Silence (Denis Lavant) walking with a chicken on his shoulder at the MACA prison, the Roman added newcomers to Ivory Coast legends, Barbe Noire, the queen of magical powers, along with established troops. zone several hundred years before today. And while Roman is holding a prison inmate, there is murder, suicide and a violent game between the inmates to replace the sick Dangoro on the night of the new moon. Perhaps what is happening within the MACA reflects the social and political turmoil in Côte d’Ivoire in recent years that has forced the African Development Bank to relocate its headquarters from Abidjan to Tunisia in 2003 and back to Abidjan in 2014.

Queen of Ivory Coast wearing a strange headdress,
along with his armed troops.
is one of the myths of Roman mythology

irector Lacôte wrote the script with the personal information of the MACA prison. As a child, Lacôte’s mother was a political prisoner at MACA and rode in a public transport vehicle to meet him inside the “open prison” depicted in Night of the Kings. According to Lacôte, the “Roman” storytelling is authentic, but in reality the “Roman” is never killed. One-fourth of the players Night of the Kings was created by former MACA inmates to rent the film. The Lacôte drama and the French title of the film also show similarities with the Shakespearean drama Twelve Night, where workers play masters in the process of legal difficulties, just as a Roman does when a court decides MACA matters. Young Lacôte apparently saw some of the power points within MACA on his travels to meet his mother in prison. The play also features ancient Greek choir performances as groups of prisoners sing and sing Roman folk songs without thinking.


Wwhile director Lacôte’s film discusses the Middle East’s roots One thousand nights, another African film A World of Sleep created in 2007 in Mozambique, under the direction of Teresa Prata, she edited journalist Mia Couto’s book of the same name and added Ms Prata’s title to Mobville Dick of Melville and a similar to Captain Ahab. So did French director Claire Denis Melly Budd of Melville in his amazing film Good job (1999), in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa. All three of these films, produced by three different directors, influence Africa and the colonial influences in a strange, diverse continent. Cinema can connect them all together like beads in a bead. Recent African films included This is not a burial, it is a resurrection (2019) in Lesotho and Night of the Kings from Côte d’Ivoire shows that the African country is proudly showing the re-emergence of the best films from the unexpected countries that are often portrayed as a source of fascinating Indian television.

PS Night of the Kings has won two Silver Hugo awards at the Chicago International Festival, one for the film and one for his voice, the Amplify Voices award at the Toronto International Festival, and the Artistic Achievement Award in Thessaloniki (Greece) for a film festival. Movies This is not a burial, it is a resurrection (2019) and A World of Sleep (2007) reviewed this blog before. (Click on the names of the films in the post-script for comment.) This movie is one of the best recorded films. The top 15 movies of 2020. The author is one of the contributors to The Directory of World Cinema: Africa (Intellect Books). .

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