Movie Title: Amina
Year of Release: 2017 Cinema/2021 Netflix
Viewing Platform: Netflix
Director: Izu Ojukwu
Producer: Okey Ogunjiofor
Cast: Clarion Chukwurah (Zumbura), Ali Nuhu (Danjuma), Lucy Ameh (Amina), Abu Chris Gbakann (Sarki), Godwin Ogaga (Kabarkai), Habiba Ummi Mohammed (Zaria), Madaki Asabe (Aladi Ameh), Ibrahim Mijinyawa (Madaki), Ogunjiofor Jenevieve (Young Amina), Yomi-Olugbodi Folusho (Young Zaria), Esther Owuru (Young Aladi Ameh), Yakubu Mohammed (Barde).
For someone who had not read much about Amina, the 16th-century Queen of Zazzau, learning of the Netflix release of Izu Ojukwu’s Amina movie ignited a longing to finally know about this legendary warrior. More so since the Netflix release was coming four years after its cinema release. As such, curiosity was at an all-time high. One hour forty-five minutes later, the curiosity was not sated.
Below are key points from Amina
Story Interpretation: In the opening scenes of Amina, we see the princesses of Zazzau, Amina and Zaria, navigating childhood fearlessly. Though a child, young Amina understood who she was and was not shy to exploit her position to her advantage. From saving the Igala slave, Aladi Ameh, to requesting to be trained in warfare, young Amina knew her role as a leader-in-waiting.
With such a childhood, one would have expected to see a fire-eating and more ferocious older Amina, sadly this was not the case. Izu Ojukwu’s Amina transitioned from a girl who barged into her father’s council meeting to question him on his double standards to a woman who kept repeating, “I am Amina, I fear nobody,” with no corresponding action. Except for the latter scenes, we did not really see Amina the warrior.
Costume: This was mostly accurate except for the velvet clothing worn by the older Amina and Zaria in some scenes that involved battle.
Casting the movie in English: For an epic film, Amina would have benefited more if the dialogue had been rendered in Hausa with English subtitles. As it is, having 16th-century Zazzau natives conversing in fluent English before the incursion of the British to that part of Hausaland seemed odd.
If Izu Ojukwu’s intention with Amina was to tell the origin story of Queen Amina then he succeeded, but if it was to do more, then he owes us a remake.
Reviewed by Oriyomi Adebare-Anthony
Photos Credit: Naija On Netflix