Njinga, Queen of Angola

An eye-opening history lesson, this 2013 Portuguese feature dramatizes major episodes in the life of the title princess and military leader, who checked the encroachment of European imperialists in southwest Africa for several decades in the 17th century. Njinga was not only a fierce warrior but also a shrewd diplomat, negotiating treaties with the Portuguese colonial government to maintain independence for her people and recruiting spies to report on impending changes to imperial policy. The facts of her biography are so extraordinary that I didn’t mind the pedestrian filmmaking, which reminded me of educational TV specials. Sérgio Graciano directed a script by Joana Jorge. In Portuguese with subtitles.