A Gentle Creature

A Gentle Creature

Sergei Loznitsa (2017)

143min
18 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Putting a Grimm slant on a Dostoevskian fable, Sergei Loznitsa exposes the Russian soul to pitiless scrutiny in this gruelling odyssey. It begins with a dash of bureaucratic satire, as petrol pump attendant Vasilina Makovtseva can't understand why a parcel she had sent to her husband in a Siberian jail has been returned unopened. But the action becomes increasingly oppressive when she travels to the town where her spouse has been incarcerated. Nobody is willing to help Makovtseva, as she encounters a cynical landlady, a scheming pimp, some hapless human-rights activists and all manner of obstructive men in uniform. Thanks to the meticulous production design and cinematography, it seems as though Makovtseva has gone back in time, allowing Loznitsa to consider the role of crime and punishment over a century of Russian history. But this is very much the sinister present and, if Loznitsa pushes his luck with a hideous peak into a rapacious future, his vision remains forbiddingly dystopian.

Cast & Crew

Gentle creature Vasilina Makovtseva
Zinka, the compassionate one Marina Kleshceva
Blue face Valeriu Andriuta
Man with plaster cast Boris Kamorzin
Human rights activist Liya Akhedzhakova
Gap-toothed man Sergey Kolesov
Director Sergei Loznitsa
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Other Information

Language: Russian +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: ArrowGuidance: ViolenceAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 13 Apr 2018