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20 Jul 9:00am

Night of the Kings review – Ivory Coast prison drama escapes into magical realism

The Guardian
This imaginative and unique Ivorian tale blends modern-day thriller dynamics with older storytelling traditions The Maca prison, outside Abidjan, is a world with its own codes and rules, we are told, and this imaginative, energetic Ivorian drama follows suit, blending modern-day thriller dynamics and fluid handheld visuals with older storytelling traditions to produce something unique and locally specific. As well as a testament to the power of storytelling to transcend the grimmest of circumstances, it could also be read as a commentary on Ivory Coast’s own war-torn, postcolonial reality. The prison in question feels more like a slum than a penitentiary. Rather than being locked in cells, the inmates seem to have free run of the place, while armed guards observe nervously from behind barricades. According to Night of the Kings, the true ruler of the Maca is an inmate named Blackbeard (Steve Tientcheu, last seen in
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