Pilippe Lacôte grew up in Abidjan near a cinema – the “Magic”. He became passionate about radio when he started studying linguistics; soon turning his attention to cinema, making short films and documentaries. His work as a director transformed up to 2008, when he focused on the recent history of his country with Chronicles of War in the Ivory Coast, a film on the verge between documentary and diary.
In 2010, he produced Burn it up Djassa by Lonesome Solo. This was followed by the feature film Run, the story of a wandering madman, selected in Un Certain Regard at Cannes 2014. Which confirmed his talent as a filmmaker while unveiling a new voice from the African continent. Night of the Kings, his second feature film, is an immersion into the largest prison in West Africa, during a red moon night.
2020 La Nuit des Rois (Night of the Kings), fiction feature film
2018 Savery Routes, short television docuseries (3 episodes)
2014 Run, fiction feature film
2013 African Metropolis, collective documentary film
2013 To Repel Ghosts, documentary short film
2008 Chroniques de guerre en Côte d’Ivoire (War Chronicles from the Ivory Coast), documentary feature film
2007 Le passeur (The Smugler), fiction short film
2002 Cairo Hours, mid-length documentary film
2001 Affaire Libinski, fiction short film
1994 Somanmbule, fiction short film
Night of the Kings comes originally from a conversation I had with a childhood friend who was leaving the MACA prison. He is the one who told me about the “Roman” ritual where a prisoner is chosen as a storyteller. Therefore, the plot of the film is truly based on real MACA tradition.
I immediately imagined the setting and a character amid such conundrum. Prison has always interested me as a place where our societal power balance can be found. Even more so when addressing unequal societies.
Being sent to prison today in Africa is something that can easily occur, simply because one is poor or is being made an example of to ensure that laws are obeyed. African prisons are overcrowded with young people incarcerated for years without a trial. But beyond this social reality, my research has focused on prison as a place of narrative creation.
What are the stories told in prison? What fantasies could be developed when your body is locked up? I firmly believe that every group of humans living in the same place for a given time breeds a culture. And every culture generates poetry.