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Night of the Kings


If you’ve never watched a film from the Ivory Coast before, start with this one. It’s a unique hybrid of a prison drama and a fantasy tale. A young inmate named Roman has to entertain his fellow prisoners with a Scheherazade-like story on the night of a red moon, otherwise he’ll be killed. It’s a startling, visually rich film from visionary Ivorian writer-director Phillipe Lacôte. It has a 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes and just missed out on being nominated for the Best International Film Oscar (it made the shortlist, but not the final cut).

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From Katie Walsh at Chicago Tribune:

What happens in Night of the Kings is a piece of traditional oration and impermanent art, significantly marked by both its temporal and improvisational qualities. It’s both a power struggle and a ritual practiced by the collective within a microcosm of society housed under the oppression of the state, and a powerful demonstration of the transporting, and liberating, power of narrative. Full Review

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