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La Biennale di Venezia

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La nuit des rois

Philippe Lacôte
Banshee Films (Delphine Jaquet), Wassakara Productions (Ernest Konan), Peripheria (Yanick Létourneau), Yennenga Production (Yoro Mbaye)
Running Time:
French, Dioula, Nouchi
Ivory Coast, France, Canada
Main Cast:
Koné Bakary, Steve Tientcheu, Rasmané Ouédraogo, Issaka Sawadogo, Digbeu Jean Cyrille, Abdoul Karim Konaté, Anzian Marcel, Laetitia Ky, Denis Lavant
Philippe Lacôte
Tobie Marier Robitaille CSC
Aube Foglia
Production Designer:
Samuel Teisseire
Costume Designer:
Hanna Sjödin
Olivier Alary
Pierre-Jules Audet, Emmanuel Croset
Visual Effects:
Autre Chose


A young man is sent to “La Maca”, a prison in the middle of the Ivorian forest ruled by its inmates. As tradition goes with the rising of the red moon, he is designated by the Boss to be the new “Roman” and must tell a story to the other prisoners. Learning what fate awaits him, he begins to narrate the mystical life of the legendary outlaw named “Zama King” and has no choice but to make his story last until dawn.

director's statement

With La Nuit des Rois I wanted to observe post-war Ivorian society through the prism of the largest prison in the country: Maca. This prison is a place of which I still have strong images and which has long fascinated me. As a child, I’d go once a week along the edge of Banco Forest in a collective taxi to go visit my mother, who was incarcerated there for political reasons. As there are no visiting rooms at Maca, I waited among the prisoners who freely circulated amid the group of visitors. It was a world that I loved to observe, even if I wasn’t able to decode everything. I had the impression of being at the court of some archaic kingdom with all its princes and lackeys... The film is centered on this singular set. Inside the prison, we plunge into a society with its own laws and rites. One of these rituals, as old as the world itself, is telling stories at night in the gleam of a lamp... The entire film takes place over the course of a night of red moon. The sky, as observed by the character named “Lookout”, takes on a strange hue reflected inside the prison, bestowing on this night a special dimension. Through La Nuit des Rois, we realize that Africa is perhaps the very last antique theater of today, where tragedy and stakes of power unfurl in a raw, frontal and eminently visual manner.


PRODUCTION 1: Ernest Konan - Wassakara Productions
11 BP 279 ABJ11
279 – Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
Tel. +225 05 26 06 21

PRODUCTION 2: Delphine Jaquet – Banshee Films
25, Av. de la République
93800 - Epinay-Sur-Seine, France
Tel. +33 1 48 23 38 28

PRODUCTION 3: Yanick Létourneau – Peripheria
5333, Casgrain Ave. #1109
H2T 1X3 – Montreal, Canada
Tel.+1 514 948 8005

WORLD SALES: Mathieu Delaunay - Memento Films International
9 cité Paradis
75010 – Paris, France
Tel. +33 1 53 34 90 33


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Biennale Cinema
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