by Del Harvey
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On March 1, 2011, BFS Entertainment will release Warrior Queen, the filmed story of Boudica, queen of the Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire.
Boudica’s husband Prasutagus, ruler of the Iceni tribe who ruled as an independent ally of Rome, left his kingdom jointly to his daughters and the Roman Emperor in his will. But upon his death, his will was ignored. The kingdom was annexed as if conquered, and Boudica was flogged and her daughters raped, and Roman financiers called in their loans.
In AD 60 or 61, while the Roman governor, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, was leading a campaign on the island of Anglesey in north Wales, Boudica led the Iceni people, along with the Trinovantes and others, in revolt. They destroyed Camulodunum (modern Colchester), formerly the capital of the Trinovantes, but now a colonia (a settlement for discharged Roman soldiers) and the site of a temple to the former emperor Claudius, which was built and maintained at local expense. They also routed a Roman legion, the IX Hispana, sent to relieve the settlement.
Boudicca’s fabled story has been told in several books and a film previous to this, which was originally released in 2003 on television in the UK. The following synopsis encapsulates this telling.
It is the first century A.D. and the Romans have invaded ancient Britain, but the Iceni, a Celtic tribe, are unwilling to live as a subject race in their own land. For a while, they are allowed to continue their lives as usual, without Rome’s interference, but when Emperor Claudius dies, the Romans and the new Emperor Nero no longer tolerate the Iceni way of life and endeavor to crush the upstart Queen Boudicca (Alex Kingston – ER, Moll Flanders) and her tribe. However, they have underestimated the Celtic spirit and, seeking revenge, Boudicca leads her people against the mighty Romans with devastating effect.
Although the film starts slowly, it is necessary to develop the history of the period for an audience unfamiliar with such times. The filmmakers do a very good job of recreating this history and of developing the characters, and Alex Kingston possesses the strength required to carry off such a powerful force of nature as could only be Boudicca.
BFS has attached the following warning to this film: “This program contains mature content. Viewer discretion is advised.”
approx. 99 mins.
Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.
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