An official selection at the Venice Film Festival, TIFF, NYFF  and the ongoing Sundance Film Festival, NEON has unveiled the first trailer for the Côte d’Ivoire’s critically acclaimed official selection for Best International Feature for the 93rd Academy Awards, Night of the Kings. Directed by Philippe Lacôte, whose previous feature Run (2014) was also the Ivorian’s Official Oscar entry, the film will arrive in theaters at the end of the month followed by a digital release in early March.

Set in a MACA prison ruled by the inmates in the capital of the Ivory Coast, Abidjan, the film conveys the story of a young pickpocket (Bakary Koné) who is designated by the inmates as the new “Roman,” Scheherazade-esque position in which he is compelled to tell a story to the other prisoners. With a desire to make the story last till dawn, he weaves the mythical tale of the legendary outlaw “Zama King,” enthralling his inmates to stay alive. 

Our review by Jared Mobarak lauds the picture, saying, “The film most likely works better for those with knowledge of the Ivory Coast and its tumultuous twenty-first century history, but that doesn’t mean those like me who are ignorant to that strife outside of what Lacôte and Roman provide can’t still enjoy the magic on display. I got goosebumps whenever the men around Koné leapt into action to pantomime his words and break into song. It’s an electric experience I honestly think could have sustained the entire runtime without traveling back to watch a seven-year-old Zama walk the beaches with Soni and their Queen.”

See the new trailer below.

Night of the Kings opens in theaters on February 26 and arrives on premium VOD on March 5.

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