The Night of Truth

Fanta Régina Nacro portrays the insanity of modern African history as Shakespearean tragedy in her debut feature film, a theatrical parable in which the ghosts of civil wars past haunt a nation's fledgling peace. Recalling recent conflicts in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and the Congo, the film opens in a mythical African country as a truce between two warring factions is finally called by the rebel group's Colonel Theo, a man whose seemingly noble actions hide a haunted past. The president's wife, though, has other plans, as does this play's Holy Fool, the mad Tomoto, whose constant ethnic baiting lays the seeds of doubt. Acted in a highly stylized manner that well matches its tale of courtly intrigues, ghosts, and madness, The Night of Truth is one of the most original African films of recent years, capturing, as Nacro writes, “the image of life pushed to an extreme intensity.”

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