the lost amazons of hollywood


A group of strictly trained black girls take down the dirty phallocrats of rival gangs, tear apart supremacists and other white slaves, cultivate their Afro-feminine pride while maintaining an exemplary society. This could be the case for a new tribute to Quentin Tarantino’s bisque cinema, and it would no doubt be better if it were. In fact, The King’s wife signed Gina Prince-Bythewood, a director who, having no apparent title to claim, here stages an Afrofeminist argument that aims to be “Inspired by true events”.

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The action takes place in the kingdom of Dahomey (located in the south of present-day Benin) in 1823. Under the authority of King Ghézo, the elite female armed force has developed significantly there. Known in French colonial memory as “Dahomey Amazons”called by the natives Agojie, these brave women, intensively trained in the use of weapons, are shown as fearsome warriors who prove themselves to men. One of them, General Nanisca – played by the Oscar-winning actress Viola Daviswho also co-produced the film – plays an important role in training new recruits, including the brave and disobedient orphan Nawi, destined to defend the kingdom against the dual intrigues of deceitful and cruel Oyo rivals and Brazilian white traders . slave.

What emerges is a typical Hollywood tale that mixes codified fight scenes with a layer of childish melodrama as well as a dash of rather sexy tribal musical comedy. King Ghézo’s regime, itself well established by his own person, is depicted there as a kind of pro-feminist democratic model and anti-slavery laboratory, where his antagonists, fanatics, turbaned fanatics and collaborators of the slave trade, are depicted as prototypes of possible Islamic State. The formula, modeled after that of Black Panther by Ryan Coogler (2018), is undoubtedly built on the intersectional martingale of black pride and feminism.

Distort historical reality

It works wonderfully, as the film released on September 16 in the United States of America has made a great start there with 19 million euros. The King’s wife it still remains a relatively mediocre work, which continues to have its protagonists speak in primitive African English when they are supposed to be conversing in their vernacular. Similarly, she would have us believe that female warriors subject to the worship of a divine king, restricted as such to celibacy and sexual abstinence, could represent a model of female emancipation. This is where we reach the limit of the “powerful woman”.

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