Aníkúlápó follows a skilled textile weaver who falls victim to his own arrogance when he uses a stolen mystical power to resurrect people; aggrandizing his social status, betraying his love, and causing his own downfall.
Aníkúlápó begins with Saro, a young and handsome traveler, arriving at the Oyo village. He goes place to place in search of setting up a new aso-ofi business as he’s an expert aso-ofi weaver.
As luck would have it, a businesswoman named Awarun takes notice of Saro and offers him a job entailing hard labor.
He commits to the job and Awarun, who appreciates his hard work and the sexual relationship they have, rewards him with a place to set up shop and start the weaving business.
Business is booming and it’s smooth sailing for Saro until he falls for the youngest wife of Oyo’s king Alaafin, Arolake. The two begin an illicit affair and eventually decide to elope together.
The king gets wind of this illicit affair and while Arolake evades the king’s men, Saro suffers a fatal fate, getting beaten to death for his crime against the king.
However, in a surreal turn of events, the myths and oracles come true and the mystic Akala bird materializes beside Saro. The Akala bird is said to have the power to resurrect the ones who died in an untimely way.
The mystical bird makes the dead Saro rise up but its judgment is that he doesn’t deserve to live anymore and should return to death.
However, before the bird can do anything, Arolake arrives and scares it away, also stealing Akala’s sand-filled magical gourd in the process.
The gourd she hands to Saro, who makes use of it to resurrect people in the Ojumo village where they take refuge. Soon, the king and the villagers learn of his resurrection powers and hail him as the Aníkúlápó.
However, the power and prosperity go to his head, and a corrupted, perverted, and arrogant Saro axes himself in the foot; he mistreats Arolake, cheats on her, and subjects her to the same sorry conditions she escaped from all those years ago.
Arolake leaves him and empties the gourd of the sand, rendering it useless and when Saro fails to resurrect the king’s son, he has to face the ultimate punishment — death.
Kunle Remi does a splendid job as the lead Saro, donning the role of the ambitious, sincere, and eventually corrupted and sleazy fool who bites more than he can chew.
The supporting cast does a good enough job as well, with Eyitemi Afolayan delivering a notable performance in the little amount of screen time she has.
Aníkúlápó is a simple morality tale that tells its story with a great knack for the Yoruba culture.
It’s a resplendent culture and history that’s not only depicted in the colorful textile that the characters wear but also through the various facets of the world-building.
For a simple morality tale, Aníkúlápó takes a lot of time to get through to its conclusion. A lot of scenes go on far too longer than they need to.
Saro’s eventual corruption of the soul and heart could be foreshadowed better in the first half of the film, making the transition less jarring and unsatisfactory in the second half.
Aníkúlápó is a pretty straightforward and simple tale of morality, inspired by the works of the renowned author, poet, and Ifá priest Ifayemi Elebuibon. The Nollywood feature suffers from certain technical elements but the vibrant and rich culture of Yoruba within the film’s text is a delightful treat to watch.
Director: Kunle Afolayan
Date Created: 2022-09-30 12:30