Monday, August 07, 2017

A Gentle Creature

The Soviet Union lasted far too long, and so did A Gentle Creature. The message of the film was brilliantly conveyed in the first 5-10 minutes where a Russian woman who lives in the middle of nowhere takes the bus to town to pickup a care parcel she had sent to her husband who is in jail and which has been returned with no reason given. The next 2 ¼ hours is used to repeat the message that modern Russia is an inhuman place for those audience members who are slow on the uptake.

The Russia of A Gentle Creature is a crumbling version of the Soviet Union populated by people who at best are sadly nostalgic for past glories, but who mostly are getting on with their lives in a way that is uncaring of their fellow citizens. The protagonist receives lots of unhelpful advice and offers of help none of which are delivered. Most of the people we meet are sullen and angry but not as bitter as one might expect. Those that are in charge of things wield their power arbitrarily and callously with sadistic effect if not sadistic motive (people trying to save things from damaged buildings after the Christchurch earthquake will understand). Those on the receiving end are generally grumpy, while some of those people who are uninvolved take advantage of the situation for their own gain. I expect things were just as bad back in the USSR, though some of the infrastructure would have been newer.

Director Sergei Loznitsa has the talent to make a 2 hour film feel like a 3 hour one, he also shares Peter Jackson's indecision on how to finish a film, with several potential finish points overlooked in the search for a finale.

Ian's rating 0/5 Anne's rating 0/5

1 comment:

  1. I bailed after 98 minutes, whereas Ian stuck it out for the entire 142.