By Laura 'Simply Leah' McNeil
If there’s anything to do with music you better believe I’m involved. This is why I was so excited for music night at the 2019 CaribbeanTales International Film Festival. Galsen - The Language of Souls, directed by Sergio AparicioOlivas, was one of the features of the night which screened at The Royal Cinemas in Toronto. Let me tell you when it was over, I was completely moved by this piece of work.
In the trailer all I got to see was a man engulfed in water. He was looking out into the waters horizon speaking in his native Hispanic tongue. His silhouette basking in the sun created a scene that was very picturesque. This alone had me anticipating the direction this film would be going in. When I think about the narration at this point in the film the only word I can use to describe it is enchanting. His voice is calm, and soothing, which makes it easy for the viewer to open his or her mind to whatever is about to be presented.
As he continues on, it’s clear that his mission is to reconnect with his motherland, Africa. He takes us to his birth place somewhere in the United States of America and this is where our journey begins. Still narrating, he gives a short auto-biography of himself explaining how it is that some of his family members are lighter than others. This is the main explanation behind his desire to reconnect with Africa, which he refers affectionately to throughout the film as mother. We ended up in a country that the viewers were left to assume was in Africa, as this was not made clear. We were basically watching the way of the people in this foreign place, at this point with not much clarity on the conversations happening around this. It’s literally as though our director, Sergio Olivas, is behind the camera walking around aimlessly recording people. Please don’t misunderstand as this was actually beautiful to see, however the audience got a little lost for a moment or two.
Still we watched on waiting to see the musical connection, as this too is not clear. Thankfully the excellent use of cinematography and the narrators soothing delivery kept me watching. FINALLY, it’s clear that the director himself is a musician and vocalist who is really good at his craft, and this was the pivotal moment for me. Now the hip-hop cypher that just happened makes sense. Also that super talent in the middle of the cypher is actually Sergio - mind blown!
Aside from the bit of confusion I mentioned, this film is definitely worth the watch. To tell you why would ruin the entire message that the director is presenting, and I believe the full experience is needed to get it. Like I said at the beginning of this review, I was completely moved by this piece of work and I’m sure you will be too. Sergio AparicioOlivas is not a name that I will soon forget. The CaribbeanTales International Film Festival made a great choice with Galsen –The Language of Souls to celebrate their 14th year!
*Editor’s note: Galsen - The Language of Souls was screened at the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival ‘19