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Cinema Cannes 2017 Russia Ukraine

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Ukrainian Sergei Loznitsa's A Gentle Creature an absurd struggle against authority

A Gentle Creature by Sergei Loznitsa, one of the 19 films in the Cannes Film Festival Golden Palm award, May 2017 Sergei Loznitsa - Slot Machine

Time seems to have stood still in this film set somewhere in a possibly contemporary Russia. In A Gentle Creature where nightmares collide with real-life situations. It is a loose adaption of a story of the same name by the 19th century Russian writer Dostoyevsky. French master, Robert Bresson who chose to adapt the story in 1969 for his first colour film.

A quiet, shy woman (Vasilina Makovtseva) tries to find her jailed husband after a parcel she sent to him is returned to the local post office.

The uniformed characters and opportunists for unknown reasons, obstruct her attempts to find her spouse. Local people say they will help her but humiliate her instead.

Some of these scenes bear similarities with the French 19th and 20th century sculptor Auguste Rodin's Gates of Hell, in honour of Dante's Inferno,with an abundance of exposed flesh, vodka and pickled cucumber.

As the so-called Gentle Creature pursues her aim to find the true whereabouts of her husband, the atmopshere becomes inceasingly oppressive until it reaches an unbearable pitch.

Loznitsa draws a parallel with what he says is the traditional authoritarian rule in Russia, whether under the Tsar, the Soviet regime or the current government led by Vladimir Putin.