I’m a sucker for period dramas. But as much as I love Tudors, Bourbons, Caesars and Victorians, why don’t we shake the genre up a bit with some new approaches? Here’s five ideas I’d love to see on the big screen, in no particular order.
Mythology as an inspiration
Sure, we definitely have movies where gods play a role. But all over the world mythology is filled with the craziest stories, so why aren’t we adapting those stories more often? Okay, I hear you- some myths are filled with awful stuff you really don’t want to see played out. But there are good examples too, or you could just use the really weird ones as inspiration. Like a friend pointed out, mythological movies don’t have to be epic CGI fests, they can be played like human drama with some fantastical elements. I also feel like when (Greek) gods do show up, they’re either caricatures or oversimplifications of themselves. And guys, please, the next time you make a movie about Egyptian gods, don’t have white Americans play them. It’s weird.
More aspects of first-wave feminism
For a movement that kickstarted the equality of half of the human population, the first-wave feminists don’t really get a lot of cinematic representation. But that’s not all there is to it: most suffrage movies focus on the militant British suffragettes led by the Pankhursts. And yes, their courage is admirable and it’s definitely cool to see fed up women marching down the streets, but the problem is that this was only one branch of the world wide suffrage movement. Many women took action mostly by writing to the government and organizing conferences, and we should honor them on the big screen too; both strands of feminism contributed to where we are today and deserve our attention.
More accurate biopics
Of course a movie should have an interesting plot and of course it’s fun to cast attractive actors as historical figures, but sometimes I wish biopics would be a bit more accurate. If we could start out with giving everyone the right age, hair color and amount of children I’d already be a lot happier. If we want to take things a bit further, I’m sure we could do with a lot less added or dramatized romantic subplots. A movie doesn’t need to be 100% pure to the source material – it is after all a product meant to entertain and not a documentary. That being said, often a movie can be your first (more in-depth) introduction to a certain topic, so I feel like some movies could try a bit harder to make its characters act like their historical counterparts.
Throwing darts at a history book and coming up with something original
Like I said in the intro, there are a few topics that keep being adapted into movies. And with good reason for sure! But history is so incredibly rich and there are so many stories to tell, that it’s too bad we don’t spend more time reading about them. Maybe adaptations of obscure but awesome history could be the next big trend after giving everything sequels and reboots?
A ‘fun’ period drama
Because except for adventure/fantasy movies and Austen adaptations, period drama does tend to feel a bit heavy. That obviously has to do with the fact that historical times weren’t a lot of fun for most people and we shouldn’t erase that reality, but I’m sure we can tell a story that has a few more positive notes. We don’t have to turn everything into a fun historical rom-com, but I don’t think every historical movie has to hit you over the head with how hard things used to be either. And I think that could be achieved quite easily, by starting with giving movies brighter colors and making the plot move a bit faster, for example. Have someone go outside and enjoy the fresh air instead of sitting inside all the time. Pick a year in someone’s life where things went relatively well. Again, I think we could explore a lot more options in historical drama than we’re doing right now, and that’s a good thing!