Film Review: A Gentle Creature

Sergey Loznitsa’s A Gentle Creature is a bleak and uncompromising film. The filmmaker offers a portrait of impassible authority and a decaying landscape.

A woman receives a parcel, returned by the prison where her husband is incarcerated. There is no explanation for the parcel being returned to her, so she sets off on a journey to discover what has happened to her husband…

Writer and director Sergey Loznitsa has created something of a curiosity with A Gentle Creature. Sharing a title, but not a narrative, with the Dostoyevsky short story, the film paints an almost relentlessly bleak portrait of a woman fighting an insurmountable system. Nevertheless, the film is not dark for the sake of darkness; Loznitsa has something to say.

Set for the most part in a nameless Siberian town, A Gentle Creature is an indictment of the  unchallenged power of authority in Russia. This is exhibited through various strata, from the  brusque post office clerk, to the cruelty of the prison workers. The protagonist is a solitary figure of integrity facing an unassailable enemy. There is something Kafkaesque about the protagonist’s search, occasion flecks of black humour are present here.

As well as the corruption and tyranny of authority, Loznitsa offers a portrait of social decay. The place where the protagonist ends up staying is brimming with unsavoury characters, each of which is given little hope of escaping their bleak lifestyles. In the final third, the film breaks with the narrative line up until that point, taking viewers to the realm of allegory. This is not overly disjointed, the film does meander somewhat during its lengthy duration.

Vasilina Makovtseva delivers a strong performance as the undeterred protagonist. Her stoicism in the face of corruption and decay makes for compelling viewing. Oleg Mutu’s cinematography is also a highlight. A Gentle Creature is not always necessarily a pleasurable watch, but it is a film with something to say.

A Gentle Creature is released in UK cinemas on 13th April 2018.

Previews: On Chesil Beach Trailer, Death Wish, More!

Plenty in this week’s preview attractions, including the new Yardie trailer, Death Wish, Yardie, and more…

On Chesil Beach Trailer

Here is the latest On Chesil Beach trailer. Based on the novel by Ian McEwan (with a screenplay also written by McEwan), On Chesil Beach is about a young couple’s wedding day in the early 1960s. The film stars Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle, and Anne-Marie Duff. On Chesil Beach will be released on 15th June 2017.

Yardie Trailer

Above is the trailer for Idris Elba’s directorial debut Yardie. Set in 1970s Kingston and 1980s Hackney, the film tells the story of a young man who grows up under the wing of a Kingston don and music producer. Starring Aml Ameen, Sheldon Shepherd, and Shantol Jackson, Yardie will be released later this year.

Death Wish Poster

Here is one of the new poster for Death Wish. The new Eli Roth movie is a reimagining of the 1974 film. The film stars Bruce Willis as a surgeon who is confronted by violence when his family are attacked. Also starring Vincent D’Onofrio and Elisabeth Shue, Death Wish will hit UK screens on 6th April 2018.

A Gentle Creation Trailer

Here is the trailer for the Palme d’Or nominated A Gentle Creature. Directed by Sergei Loznitsa, the film is about a woman with an incarcerated husband. When her parcel to him is returned, she begins on a quest for justice. A Gentle Creature will be released in UK cinemas on 13th April 2018.

A Quiet Place Featurette

John Krasinski explains a little about the concept of A Quiet Place in the above featurette. Directed, co-written, and starring Krasinski, the horror is about a family who must stay quiet in order to evade detection. Co-starring John Krasinski’s wife Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place will hit the big screen later this year.

Mary Magdelene Trailer

Mary Magdalene is a biblical biopic. The film tells the story of the title character as she meets Jesus of Nazareth. Rooney Mara plays Mary, with Joaquin Phoenix playing Jesus. The film also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tahar Rahim. Directed by Garth Davis, Mary Magdalene is out in UK cinemas on 16th March 2018.