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Inale review: Spoiler warning

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Staff member

By Elnathan John

To begin, I must agree with a friend of mine who suggested that the title of this piece might be misleading, for this is not some high academic expose. I will attempt to justify the title.

I grew up, like most others around me, on folktales. Whether they were indigenous or foreign, there was always a good dose of didactic stories which gained notoriety through repetition. So I recall the Hausa folktales (to which every aunt and uncle added some twist of their own) my favourite being the story of Bakin Wake who sacrificed himself to save the village [from which the Hausa word for suicide bomber- dan kunar bakin wake is derived from. I also recall English folktales which I learnt in school. The modern relevance of folktales is seen in the many adaptations of folktales into cartoons and films whether it be Snow White, Cinderella or The Water Horse. I find that one of the advantages of folktales is their simplicity and their timelessness. Folktales lend themselves to easy transmission into different situations and time periods. However one challenge with the adaptation of folktales is that sometimes the reliance on the easy and timeworn symbols and metaphors which characterises many of them, can make the adapted work unforgivably bland, predictable and boring.

Before I discuss INALE, the ambitious new Nigerian movie by Jeta Amata, produced by Keke Bongos let me say a little about adaptation of folktales in film. I found the definition in The Greenwood Encyclopaedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales by Donald Haase quite useful. The author defines adaptation as the process that occurs when folktales and fairytales are changed into new versions or variants in the course of their transmission. The adaptation can take one of two broad forms: duplication, where there is a faithful retelling of old tales intact with core ideologies and predicable moral lessons OR revision, is the critical adaptation where the new version implicitly questions, challenges or subverts the story thereby suggesting a different approach to previously settled notions and ideas.

INALE is according to the movie’s official website, ‘a folklore told in Otukpo, Benue state... a tale about true love, betrayal, family, duty and tradition; the first Nigerian musical ever in celluloid.’

Ok, so let’s go straight into the story, or my summary of it. A white American grandfather tells his granddaughter a tale from one of the many places he has visited- the Idoma tale of a beautiful princess who is in a love affair with Ode. To gain her hand in marriage, Ode must follow the tradition of wrestling all who want to challenge him for her hand in marriage. It is a free for all contest. Ode wrestles and beats all the contestants but one- a stranger from a nearby enemy village. He loses in a fair fight and loses Inale. The King is honourable and lets his daughter follow the prince of a rival village who has won her in a fair fight. Rules are rules. On her way to the village of her husband-to-be the maid with whom she travels drowns her and lies to Inale’s sister that she commited suicide at the thought of being with a man she didn’t love. Inale’s sister falls for it and hatches a plan to let the maid impersonate Inale so that the rival village doesn’t see it as a provocation that Inale isn’t delivered. The maid reaches the village, becomes queen and starts maltreating the princess as her slave. Ode who cant bear to lose his Inale runs to the village to challenge the prince for Inale. On his way Inale appears to him as half human half fish and tells him that if he doesn’t wrestle the prince and beat him by sunset she will become a full fish and will be gone forever. He goes to the village, convinces the prince to wrestle him, loses quite a number of times again, but wins the last time. The crown prince who is honourable lets him take Inale. The only hitch is, Inale isn’t Inale but an ambitious maid turned queen. Ode tells him what he has to do and they both run to save Inale before sunset. They have to smoke the fish part of her to make her human. They try and it seems they have failed. They mourn her through the night. But at sunrise she is suddenly alive. They rejoice.



Well-Known Member
This review could have been like one quarter of its present length... A lot of empty calories in there.


Well-Known Member
This one no be review now...This one na step by step replay of movie..lol
Perhaps this 'reviewer' never took the 'SUMMARIZATION' class in school!


Well-Known Member
I saw the movie two days ago and we were just six in the cinema hall. Inale just doesnt cut it off me. I liked the songs and some of the actors in it. I had a big issue with Inale, the Idoma princess (Caroline Chi) having a british accent through out the movie. Even Hakeem tried to maintain a naija accent but lost in at some point. The script was weak and i felt more attention was paid to getting a crispy picture as opposed to making an over all good movie.


Active Member
The name Ode in Yoruba could either be 'a stupid person' or 'a hunter'.

It made reading the summary fun sha
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