At the Maca correctional facility in the Ivorian capital of Abidjan, the inmates run the prison, a place all but ruled by folkloric superstitions. Tonight, upon the rising of a red moon, a newly arrived prisoner (Koné Bakary), jailed for pickpocketing, has been selected by the autocratic Lord Blackbeard to assume the position of “Roman storyteller”: he must keep his fellow inmates entertained with wild tales or risk his own life. As this Scheherazade-like scenario unfolds, he tells the story of Zama, the childhood friend who became a legendary crime boss. Paying homage to the tradition of the griot in West African culture, Night of the Kings is a work of Shakespearean fabulism and gripping, energetic filmmaking, an altogether original vision from breakout Ivory Coast filmmaker Philippe Lacôte. A NEON release. An NYFF58 Main Slate selection.
For in-theater screenings, please review the FLC in-theater safety and health policies here.
Watch our Q&A from the 58th New York Film Festival below.