- 20 min
Broken is a 1993 drama film that takes place in the early 1970s in the rural Canadian town of Nazko. The protagonist of the movie is a half-Native American, half-white teenager named Gabriel (Eric Schweig) who lives with his mother, a white woman who has, for the most part, kept him ignorant about his Aboriginal heritage. Gabriel's life is turned upside down when his mother dies in a car accident, leaving him to be raised by his stepfather, Frank (Wes Studi), who is a Native American from the nearby reserve. Gabriel harbors resentment towards Frank for being forced to move away from his childhood home, and for trying to make him embrace his Aboriginal heritage, which he sees as alien to his identity.
As Gabriel struggles to adjust to his new life with a man who he perceives as an intruder, he increasingly turns to alcohol and drugs to cope with his pain. This leads him down a path of self-destruction, as he sinks deeper into addiction and despair. Meanwhile, Frank tries to reach out to Gabriel and help him overcome his demons, but is met with hostility and defiance at every turn.
The movie unfolds against the backdrop of a community torn apart by racism and prejudice. The white residents of Nazko look down upon their Aboriginal neighbors, while the Native Americans on the reserve are victims of discrimination and marginalization. Buffy Sainte-Marie, a Native American musician and activist, plays a pivotal role in the movie as the voice of dissent, speaking out against the injustices that her people face and rallying them to fight for their rights.
Broken is a poignant and powerful portrayal of the struggles faced by Indigenous communities in North America. It examines the trauma and pain that arise from the erasure of cultural identity, and the complex relationship that exists between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous settlers. The performances by Schweig and Studi are exceptional, with both actors capturing the nuances of their characters' emotional journeys with subtlety and depth.
Director Adrian Sturges masterfully captures the stark beauty of the Canadian landscape, using it as a metaphor for the raw nature of human experience. The movie is a haunting meditation on loss, forgiveness, and the search for identity, told through the lens of a young man's journey towards healing and reconciliation. It is a must-see for anyone interested in exploring the complex histories and cultures of Indigenous communities in North America.
In conclusion, Broken is an emotionally poignant drama that examines the struggle of Indigenous people to preserve their culture and deals with trauma as a direct result of systemic erasure. The exceptional performances from the cast and skillful direction make the film one of the most important movies that speaks to the human condition of our time. It is a must-see not just for film enthusiasts but for all viewers interested in exploring the important stories of the world.