Sarraounia is a young warrior queen of the Azna tribe, whose mastery of the ancient 'magic' skills of martial arts and pharmacology is first put to the test when she defends her people from attack by a neighbouring tribe. But the real trial of strength comes when the French army marches south to widen its colonial grip on the African continent. The second half of the film centres on the French, acidly but plausibly satirised as little tyrants whose megalomania swells in proportion with their failure to grasp the realities of the culture they are trying to crush. Everything here is grounded in careful but never pedantic historical research. The film is superbly crafted and expansive; the tone is celebratory, loud, assertive and spirited; but Hondo doesn't allow the visual and musical splendours to swamp his certainty that Africans need to learn to value and develop the identity that was theirs before the white man came.