Gjalle by Albanian director Artan Minarolli is the story of a young man who is forced to answer for a blood debt incurred by his grandfather. His own life at risk, Koli (Nik Xhelilaj), the young man, is sent to live with relatives in a far-off village in the mountains of Albania. The film details the conflict of the big city Tirana-bred Koli trying to fit in with a simpler life while at the same time trying to evade death.
Minarolli’s film is a well-made foray into the cultural uniqueness of life in Albania. Though at the end of the film when a boat that Koli tries to flee Albania in with other illegal immigrants is sunk and everyone on board dies, it becomes a somewhat forced connection to real events, as the final titles note that the film is dedicated to a similar incident that happened in 1997. Yet and still that final moment does not drown the powerful story told before and the points made about being trapped between a modern life and tradition and the shipwrecking that can occur as a result.