Friday, May 12, 2023

Review of the contentious Netflix documentary Queen Cleopatra: It belongs in a tomb

 Sovereign Cleopatra audit: The discussion surrounding the Netflix documentary makes you wonder which is more ancient: the relics on display or the way people think when they make comments about someone's skin color.

Netflix's Queen Cleopatra, a surface-level docudrama that frequently deviates into Mills & Boon territory, tells the story of the legendary monarch with the same dramatic weight as a Wikipedia article. But even on Wikipedia, you can always go down an endless rabbit hole by clicking on an intriguing hyperlink. However, for the four episodes of Queen Cleopatra, you are confined to your seat and forced to watch sluggish dramatic recreations interspersed with exaggerated commentary.

Jada Pinkett Smith, the show's executive producer, gives a voiceover at the beginning of each episode. In it, she always talks about how brilliant Cleopatra was in a serious tone that would be reserved for bad news. Additionally, the show rarely makes clever use of a number of academics who are unquestionably highly qualified to comment on Cleopatra's life and reign. Instead, the interviews are intercut in such a way that it appears as though the scholars are having trouble determining who Cleopatra was and what she represents, almost as if the filmmakers asked each scholar to tell their entire life story to the camera one by one.

One scholar says in the first episode that Cleopatra was "worshipped and feared by Egypt, courted and reviled by Rome." This sets the tone for what comes next, which is a sloppy story of palace intrigue, blind ambition, and steamy romance. We're informed that Cleopatra lived in an especially merciless time, when kin would frequently wound each other in the backs, in a real sense, just to scale the progression stepping stool. Another academic describes it as "a Game of Thrones environment" with zero playfulness, almost as if they want to beat you to it. And this is one of the show's biggest flaws; while the amusements are undefined from your grandma's number one cleanser, the talking head segments are pretty much as dry as an Egyptian evening.

Indeed, even in the wake of watching four episodes, you don't exactly find out about Cleopatra's identity personally. Funny enough, she is portrayed as a Beyonce-like figure when she isn't being shown as a scheming seductress who would often break moral rules to get what she wants. Trip-hop and rap make up the soundtrack, which clearly draws inspiration from Black Panther.

However, the show doesn't have a spirit. Furthermore, every story needs one, even meagerly delivered Netflix docudramas about Cleopatra that don't highlight a solitary file photo of the castles in which she lived, or of her many figures, or even works of art of her most popular successes — both geological and heartfelt. All of this would presumably have featured exactly the way in which liquid her picture was, continually being modified relying upon who was holding the brush or the etch.

In point of fact, the way dark-haired, olive-skinned women like Elizabeth Taylor, Monica Bellucci, and maybe even Gal Gadot have portrayed Cleopatra in movies has clearly influenced how people think of her. However, Netflix scholars do not appear to have a firm understanding of her appearance. One woman claims that she imagines her to be Black, just like herself; on the other hand, a man claims that, like him, he believes she had light brown skin and curly hair. People project themselves onto Cleopatra, according to consensus. She is not dissimilar to Jesus in this way.

Following the Egyptian Supreme Antiquities Council's response to the show's suggestion that Cleopatra was Black, this sparked controversy in the days leading up to its release. The mixed-race actor Adele James, who plays her in the recreations, was immediately attacked by racist trolls. The Egyptian government's condemnation of the show undoubtedly fueled the trolling. However, they are correct; It would be a little impolite of a Netflix show to suggest that Cleopatra "had white skin" even if they believe there is sufficient evidence to support their claims.

In fact, the conversation that surrounds the show makes you wonder which is more ancient: the relics on display or the way people think when they make comments about someone's skin color.

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