One of the most anticipated movies at the recent Toronto International Film Festival was The Woman King. The film stars Triple Crown of Acting winner Viola Davis in the starring role. Action and emotion are given more prominence in the picture. The movie will have a global theatre premiere this week.
The movie is based on actual events that happened in the Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most influential nations in Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries, according to the official synopsis.
The book chronicles the tale of Nanisca, the general of the all-female military unit known as the Amazons, and her daughter Nawi, who together fought the French and neighboring tribes who betrayed their honor, enslaved their people and threatened to destroy everything they had worked for.
Gina Prince-Bythewood is the director of The Woman King. For the Netflix action film The Old Guard, Gina is well known. The other significant leads include Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and John Boyega. Before the film’s imminent theatrical release, there have been numerous disputes surrounding it.
Some claim that this film only portrays women as heroes, while others claim that it embellishes historical events. However, since The Woman King hasn’t even been launched, it would be premature to dismiss it.
It’s critical to keep in mind that The Woman King is essentially an entertainment work. It is never acceptable to hunt down a movie in the name of history or race. Allow the audience to accept it if they like it.
Does the Woman King Have a Real-Life Basis?
The Woman King is based on “powerful” true events, as the trailer, makes clear. The Agojie, also known as the Amazons, was an army of women who guarded Dahomey, the West African Kingdom that existed from the 17th to the 19th century and is now modern-day Benin. This is similar to how the movie is described.
It’s not unusual for folks to be ignorant of this historical fact. Even its star actress had little knowledge of it before landing the part. The only thing I knew, practically, was that there were ladies called Amazons someplace in Africa, Davis remarked in an interview with Vanity Fair.
This is not the first time Hollywood has used this feisty bunch of women as inspiration. The Dora Milaje fighters in Marvel’s Black Panther, according to BBC, were also influenced by the Agojie.
Was General Nanisca, the Figure Played by Viola Davis in The Woman King, a Real Person?
General Nanisca, a role played by Davis, is a made-up figure. However, The Smithsonian Magazine noted that a French navy officer had seen a teenage recruit with the same name while on a visit. When a prisoner was brought before her, she decapitated him and then allegedly “squeezed the blood off her blade and consumed it.” She had apparently “not yet killed anyone.”
Given that the officer stated that Nanisca had passed away three months into the conflict, it is uncertain if Davis’ figure was ever a general, even if it is absolutely plausible that the young recruit served as Davis’ inspiration.