Directed by Moroccan American filmmaker Hafid Abdelmoula, ‘Broken Gaiete’ is a 104 min feature film that combines period fantasy and intrigue in a far off land as a reluctant and mysterious protagonist Idir goes off on a mythical quest of epic proportions. As fates collide and new obstacles unearthed, Idir will need to trust in himself if he is to succeed at all costs.
The first thing that one notices about Broken Gaiete is how stunning it looks visually. The cinematography by Luis Galindo is mesmerizing and does a well rounded job of transporting the audience into the fantastical realm. In addition, the acting is fantastic all around as well. Hector Dez as Idir and Elizabeth Elize Gonzales as Kashou shine while Mark Vasconcellos as Tsicar and Irene Taylor as Beda manage to make an incredible impression as well. The production design by Tiffany Figueroa complements this period piece well and both the props and the makeup are some of the best we have seen this year.
From an audiovisual perspective, the film hits a home run. Not only do the visuals look faultless for a film that takes place somewhere unknown, the sound mixing and editing plunges the viewer right into the moment as well. The score, always present in the background, is a powerful aid to the narrative as well, enhancing the tension and desperation at display.
The warm hues accentuate the story, enabling Abdelmoula to bring a sense of authenticity to the narrative. As the tumultuous journey of Idir unravels onscreen, the audience cannot help but be enthralled in his trials and tribulations. As the plot thickens, the danger and confusion that sets in adds to the overall atmosphere, making the experience more immersive and impressive.
This brings to another of the film’s strong points; the earnestness of the protagonist and how his struggle is a metaphor for life. With Idir facing obstacle after obstacle, his protagonist finds himself on a hero’s journey, troubled by the momentous opposing forces yet unfazed and glorious in his resolve. Hafid Abdelmoula does well here to frame his journey as one of extremity and perseverance, as Idir is tested to the limits across his journey.
Period pieces are rarely perfect and Broken Gaiete too has some kinks that could have been perfected to make the film even better. Although it seems the cast is having a fantastic time with all the dearth of talent on display, some of the supporting characters could have been more memorable, instead of just being cogs in the narrative to further the plot forward.
However, these quips are rudimentary and what matters most is that the film works in more ways than one. Broken Gaiete is a solid film that will stay with you long after it has ended. Satiated by superheroes and other tired tropes, today’s filmmaking rarely comes out with soulful pictures and Broken Gaiete is screaming ‘auteur’ with every frame of its existence.
Aided by a resonating story, authentic makeup and impressive practical effects, Abdelmoula has chartered a man’s odyssey brilliantly, fabricating an authentic motion picture that speaks volumes about his capability as a filmmaker.
The fact that Broken Gaiete is Abdelmoula’s first feature makes this feat all the more exciting as well. Rarely do filmmakers do so well on their first try yet in this case, the director has managed to hit a home run on his first rodeo and that too, with considerable ease; displaying impressive mastery of genre filmmaking.
We sincerely hope to see more stories from the mind of Abdelmoula in the future and find that Broken Gaiete is therefore a fantastic film that fires on all cylinders to give the audience a potent filmgoing experience.
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About the director – Hafid Abdelmoula
Hafid is an award-winning Moroccan-American Writer/Director, Actor and a Singer, who earned his Bachelor in Film from New Mexico State University and an MEA in directing from Vermont College of Fine arts.
Orchestra Conservatory and an actor/writer/director at the local theater company. He wrote and directed his own first plays at the age of 20. Hafid is also a singer winner at the 1996 tv competition of the Moroccan 2M Tv channel.
Since his move to USA, Hafid has been active in so many projects that led to some awards. The combination of multilingualism and an exotic background have enabled Hafid to have a multicultural diversity and a huge understanding of the world view which helps him tell better stories perspectively.