The Woman King is the future of historical drama and epic

We also need to think about who has historically decided which story is “historically accurate” since many African and black diaspora stories have been erased by white historians who either posited colonization, slavery and colonialism as positive or circumvented the issue, by emphasizing only white people. Blown by the wind is considered a classic film, but the way the film debates the enslaved and freed is still wildly racist. There are also historical films such as The Patriot which should have mentioned slavery as part of the historical or political context, but bypass the topic entirely. King Gezo’s role in the slave trade, on the other hand, may have been simplified, but not entirely glossed over.

Namisca also changes course of previous films along with fellow cast member Adgojie Izogie (Lashawna Lynch) and young intern Nawi (Thuso Mbedu). Many historical war films such as 300 show only men as warriors. Gina Price-Blythewood, the director of The Woman King told The Hollywood Reporter that she fought with Hollywood to get the film made at all because many previous films in this genre didn’t give black women anything remotely heroic or action-oriented to do. In the same interview, Viola Davis said that she has never been offered an action film role.

Some viewers at home may believe so The Woman King was inspired by Marvel’s fictional Dora Milaje in Black Panther And Wakanda forever, however screenwriter Maria Bello traveled to Benin in 2015 to research the Agojie during the development process. This is not the first time that historical fiction stories have been able to more realistically depict people or events depicted in fantasy, mythology, or science fiction films. For example gladiator depicted ancient Rome closer to history than films based on novels or mythologies about ancient Rome.

This creative team chose to break the rules because their goal was to approach a difficult subject in a way that encourages black audiences. While The Woman King depicted the enslaved in prison and on the auction block, there was also an emphasis on depicting black joy and family bonds. We also see black women in positions of power and influence.

The Woman King also evades some common storytelling styles from previous films and television. Introducing Santo (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) as a Portuguese slave trader and Malik (Jordan Bolger) as a multiracial Portuguese and Dahomey man the highly problematic trope of an enslaved person falling in love with kidnappers or colonizers. This is an important contrast to films such as Jefferson in Paris who romanticizes Thomas Jefferson’s sexual abuse of Sally Hemmings as an “affair”.

The positive aspects of The Woman King, particularly in relation to the depiction of black women on screen, the deviations from the historical record far outweigh them. Whether it’s inspiring Netflix viewers to do their own research on the Dahomey Empire and other subjects in African history, or inspiring the next generation of black filmmakers to create their own historical epic films, The Woman King indeed sets a positive trend in historical films.
Twenty-five years ago, and during a renaissance of Hollywood historical epics, the industry would never have thought of making a film like this The Woman King. The film’s success proves that there is not only an audience for this type of film, but also rich and long-overlooked stories across the African continent waiting to be told. The Woman King only made it easier for these stories to finally take center stage. The Woman King is the future of historical drama and epic

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