There is Italy’s first lawyer, the American poet considered one of the greatest modern lyricists, America’s first “self-made” millionaire, the teenager who becomes queen despite herself, a political pawn in a game between the great crowned families and the fourteen-year-old Prussian sent to Russia to get married capable of turning the game around and becoming empress. There is the seamstress who becomes an influencer and gives the woman trousers and the fake heiress who, after having conquered the jet set and almost duped Wall Street, coming one step away from obtaining a 40 million dollar loan to build the most exclusive New York was convicted of fraud. And then, if that weren’t enough, there are thirty other stories of “indomitable” girls and women who have left a mark that cannot be erased. Cartoon version.
‘Self made’, Octavia Spencer tells the story of Madam CJ Walker
Self Made: The Life of Madam CJ Walker (Netflix)
Madam CJ Walker, first free woman in her family, born on a cotton plantation in Louisiana and became a millionaire thanks to her beauty formula. Her real name was Sarah Breedlove Walker and in the series has the face of the Oscar winner Octavia Spencer (The Help, The right to count, The shape of water). The miniseries (4 episodes) tells how Sarah has been working in the fields since she was very young, cleaning the house, babysitting, washing clothes, her hair always tied up in bands until, partly due to tiredness, partly due to lack of care, they begin to fall. Then the encounter with a capillary lotion that allows her skin to heal completely changes Sarah’s way of seeing the world, first she becomes a sort of ambassador for hair care in the world of African American women, then she decides to start her own business and create a new recipe on your own. But more than the secret recipe, the real trump card of Madam CJ Walker is her approach: “They humiliate us, they call us ugly, they make us feel ugly. Fantastic hair creates fantastic opportunities”. It is the American dream, no more, no less, and aimed at those, women and blacks, who have only seen the American dream from afar. A story of female empowerment, as they say in America, which can only be an example, the story of a boundless ambition that led Madam CJ Walker to be America’s first “self-made” millionaire.
‘La legge di Lidia Poët’, the TV series with Matilda De Angelis on the first female lawyer in Italy
The Law by Lidia Poët (Netflix)
There was criticism in the United States of the Madam CJ Walker series for how it portrayed the life of this extraordinary African-American businesswoman. It is inevitable that in the transition from reality to fiction of the biopic something is lost and that the historical character in becoming fiction is fictionalized by the authors. Criticisms and controversies also accompanied the release of the Italian series Lidia Poët’s law with the heirs who did not appreciate the historical reconstruction made starting from their ancestor. The first lawyer in the history of Italy is called Lidia Poët, she lived at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries in Turin, she fought in the courts for 36 years before seeing her law degree converted into enrollment in the register. In the meantime, she has continued to fight for many causes, including that of the vote for women. The version it gives Matilda DeAngelis it won’t be totally historically accurate – as also explained by the director himself Matthew Oak — but it’s pop, it’s addictive, and it’s popular with audiences.
‘Dickinson 3’, between Lizzo and the civil war, the series about the American poetess
Dickinson (Apple TV+)
Different fate for the serial adaptation from the life of Emily Dickinson in the version of Hailee Steinfeld which despite an extremely free reading has been approved, supported and promoted by the Museum and the Dickinson Foundation. Passionate, combative, courageous, daring. It is a portrait outside the traditional clichés that emerges from the series Dickinson. The poet of Amherst, the author for too long told as the one “of bees and flowers”, the daughter who has never been a mother, the woman without a man, is not the one portrayed by Alena Smith (Newsroom, The Affair). The showrunner has chosen to tell her story as a bildungsroman which, although accurate in its historical reconstruction, speaks a contemporary language made up of songs, Billie Eilish to Lizzo, teenage slang (we talk about gossip and influencers) and humour. The reading key were her poems, if the series by choice is not always accurate from a biographical point of view (Emily of Dickinson she is an abolitionist protofeminist who finds no comparison among the experts) instead she is maniacally so as regards her writing that comes to life on the screen in her golden handwriting. Emily Dickinson’s truth is contained in her poems.
‘Becoming Elizabeth’, the adolescence of Elizabeth I
Becoming Elizabeth (Lionsgate+)
Long before ascending the throne, the young Elizabeth Tudor was an orphaned teenager who, on the death of her father, Henry VIII, found herself embroiled in the politics and sexual intrigues of the English court. Torn between her feelings for her brothers, the very young Edward who finds himself on the throne at the age of nine and his sister Maria, who weaves relations with the Catholic world and the Pope, and questions of succession, Elizabeth becomes a pawn in a game between the great families of England and the European powers that vie for control of the country. Her relationship with her stepmother Caterina further complicates her dynamics at court. Becoming Elizabeth is the series signed by Anya Reiss on the adolescence, never told so far, of Elizabeth I, to interpret it is the German actress Alicia von Rittberg (Fury).
‘The Great’, for the second season Caterina is pregnant and has conquered power
The Great (Lionsgate+)
Of all the costume series that have flourished in recent years that of Tony McNamara dedicated to Catherine the great of Russia is the most witty, crackling and unconventional. The Great tells with a lot of humor and the language of the contemporary “an almost true story”. Wearing stupendous eighteenth-century costumes that refer to the style of Dior in the Russian palace of Oranienbaum, which is actually the Royal Palace of Caserta, the intrigues, the machinations, the gossip of a court life always told over the top take place. The dialogues are crackling and bold, there are profanity mixed with “real” speeches and jokes like “Make Russia great again” with a wink at Trump, but the figure of Caterina is built trying to honor the caliber of the historical figure . “Caterina in our series is an activist, a feminist and everything you will see that she wants to do she really did or at least she tried with all of herself – he says Elle Fanning who interprets it – . Imagine the battle in a country that had no interest in changing and absolutely didn’t want to listen to a woman.”
Coco Chanel (Raiplay)
It is a two-part miniseries Coco Chanel with Barbora Bobulova as Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, a girl of humble origins who found her redemption in work. Who changed the image and role of women forever, who invented the “petite robe”, that elegant black dress that everyone can keep in the closet ready for an elegant occasion and freed women by giving them trousers which… first of all allowed you to ride a bicycle. Shirley MacLane it’s old Coco. “Dress shabby and they will remember the dress; dress impeccably and they will remember the woman” Coco dixit.
‘Inventing Anna’, the protagonist Julia Garner: “Meeting her I understood how she managed to cheat everyone”
Inventing Anna (Netflix)
Is she a con artist, a braggart or a visionary, a woman determined to make her way at all costs in a male and misogynistic world like that of Wall Street? Anna Delvey came close to obtaining a 40 million dollar loan to build New York’s most exclusive club dedicated to contemporary art before being unmasked as a fake Russian heiress, adept at passing herself off as who she wasn’t. Shonda Rhimes he told his story in Inventing Anna with Julia Garner (who earned Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for the role, but then won for Ozarks) to embody the 20-year-old jet-set idol who came one step away from the dupe Wall Street who quickly climbed Netflix’s most watched series rankings when it came out.
We close the overview with the series of series. Is titled Indomite is a collection of thirty extraordinary stories told through animation and with the voice of Isabella Ragonese to give life to all these women of history. Among the many there is Josephine Bakerdancer and militant in French counterintelligence during World War II who fought against racism, investigative journalist Nelly Blythe American patron Peggy Guggenheim, the singer and queen of funk Betty DavisHedy Lamarr the most beautiful woman in the world but also the unknown inventor of a technology at the basis of modern wifi, the Greek Agnodiceone of the first female doctors in history and the Afghan rapper Sonita Alizadeh… thirty three-minute stories to discover thirty lives lived intensely and freely.