Aníkúlápó follows a skilled textile weaver who falls victim to his own arrogance when he uses a stolen mystical power to resurrect people. enlarging his social status, betraying his love and causing his own downfall.
Aníkúlápó begins with Saro, a young and handsome traveler, arriving at the village of Oyo. He goes from place to place in search of starting a new aso-ofi business as he is an expert aso-ofi weaver.
Luckily, a businesswoman named Awarun notices Saro and offers her a demanding job.
He engages in work and Awarun, who appreciates his hard work and the sexual relationship they have, rewards him with a place to settle down and start the weaving business.
Business is booming and everything is going well for Saro until he falls in love with the youngest wife of the King of Oyo Alaafin, Arolake. The two begin an illicit affair and ultimately decide to elope together.
The king gets wind of this illicit affair and while Arolake escapes from the king’s men, Saro suffers a fatal fate, being beaten to death for his crime against the king.
However, in a surreal turn of events, the myths and oracles come true and the mystical bird Akala materializes next to Saro. The Akala bird is said to have the power to resurrect those who died prematurely.
The mystical bird raises the dead Saro but his judgment is that he no longer deserves to live and must return to death.
However, before the bird can do anything, Arolake arrives and scares it away, also stealing Akala’s magic sand-filled gourd in the process.
The canteen she hands to Saro, who uses it to resuscitate the inhabitants of the village of Ojumo where they are taking refuge. Soon the king and the villagers learn of his resurrection powers and hail him as the Aníkúlápó.
However, power and prosperity go to his head, and a corrupt, evil, and arrogant Saro chops himself in the foot; he abuses Arolake, cheats on her, and subjects her to the same deplorable conditions she escaped from all those years ago.
Arolake leaves him and empties the gourd of sand, rendering it useless and when Saro fails to resurrect the king’s son, he must face the ultimate punishment – death.
Kunle Remi does a magnificent job as the lead Saro, taking on the role of the ambitious, sincere, and ultimately corrupt, sleazy jerk who bites off more than he can chew.
The supporting cast also does a pretty good job, with Eyitemi Afolayan delivering a standout performance in what little screen time she has.
Aníkúlápó is a simple morality tale that tells its story with great flair for Yoruba culture.
It’s a resplendent culture and history that’s not only represented in the colorful textiles the characters wear, but also through the various facets of world-building.
For a simple morality tale, Aníkúlápó takes a long time to reach its conclusion. Many scenes last far too long than necessary.
The eventual corruption of Saro’s soul and heart could be better heralded in the first half of the film, making the transition less shocking and unsatisfying in the second half.
Aníkúlápó is a fairly direct and simple morality story, inspired by the works of the famous author, poet and priest Ifá Ifayemi Elebuibon. The Nollywood feature suffers from some technical elements, but the vibrant and rich Yoruba culture in the film’s text is a treat to watch.
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