A Gentle Creature
“Loznitsa has always been a director fascinated by faces, the sheer variety of human expressions and physiognomies, so even if the film seems underscored by a steady drum beat of fury at the cruelty people can inflict on one another, there’s also a keening air of sorrowful, empathic humanism, like the sound of distant violin.” – Leslie Felperin (The Hollywood Reporter)
“This is one of the festival’s most mind-boggling selections, rowdy, sprawling, bitter, and with a black-humorous fantasy sequence followed by an extended rape… This monumental epic of despair has no true resolution. It’s two hours and 23 minutes long, with the sense that the torture of its heroine, and by implication the Russian people, will go on forever.” – Barbara Scharres (RogerEbert.com)
“It’s when this symbolic substratum bursts to the surface in a sub-Fellini fantasy dream sequence an hour and three quarters into the film’s running time that Loznitsa’s angry satire suddenly becomes strident and unsubtle. The film never regains its delicate balance between women’s drama and parable of nationhood; but it remains a fascinating failure.” – Lee Marshall (Screen Daily)
Mixed reactions to this it seems, though not particularly poor reviews, the unique A Gentle Creature may still sneak a Jury Prize or Grand Prize a la The Wonders in 2014. In a sadly open field for Best Actress this year, Vasilina Makovtseva is getting only praise, and could nab this. Long shots ahoy.