Directed by Philippe Lacote, Night of the Kings recounts the night of a young man 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.
The original music is scored by Olivier Alary, a French composer based in Montreal. Trained in architecture, sonic arts and instrumental composition, Olivier is interested in exploring the grey area between music and noise. For the past twelve years, he has provided soundtrack for close to fifty feature-length fiction films and documentaries.
. “I am equally influenced by traditional music (from both Asia and Europe), acousmatic music (from composers of the Groupe de Recherche Musicale) and post-tonal composers (like Julia Wolfe, Julius Eastman)”, he says, citing his music as a fusion of elements from these genres of music. “For me the texture of sound is as evocative as a strong melody or harmonic progression. I also love to blur the boundaries between the geography of instruments and music genre.”
The score also spotlights a unique musical genre known as Zouglou, performed by singers Sié Kambou, Jacques Kombasséré, Marcel Bah Kpazaï and Eric Kramo Koffi. Zouglou is a popular music from Ivory Coast that emerged from the university campuses of Abidjan in 1990. It is very popular as it aims to express the conditions of students and denounce the evils of Ivorian society. It is based on the traditional songs of Bétés, an ethnic group from the central-west region of Ivory Coast.