Jean Gentil

Release date: 2011
Director: Israel Cardenas, Laura Amelia Guzman
Screenplay by: Israel Cardenas, Laura Amelia Guzman
Cast: Jean Remy Gentil

Jean Gentil is the story of… well, Jean Remy Gentil — a French teacher from Haiti who loses his job, and sets off to Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) to find anything to be able to make ends meet.

The film and subject matter are terribly dreary, having a man who used to work as a teacher, had education, and papers to prove it, walking around everywhere possible to be able to find any suitable work is anything but a cheery subject.

However, Jean Gentil is… well, gentile. He’s soft spoken, and is planning to reconnect with his religious roots in the hopes that everything will turn out, somehow, for the better. He meets people, some willing to help more than others. Most of them are a good bunch of people in average situations, but definitely better off than Jean, who feels everyone is living life but him.

Somehow he ends up living in the forest by himself, living off nature, and the film lends itself for some beautiful frames and scenery, almost as if Jean had finally found his place within God’s creation. However, he carries a secret that’s eating him inside and cracks open as everything begins turning around.

The film actually grows on you with time. I can vouch for it. I enjoyed it more with my second watch than I did my first. Of course, that’s hardly ideal to watch a film at the theater or at a film festival. Jean Gentil is also one of those films you have to be in the mood for because all that’s happening to Jean are things within himself that might or not engage the audience. This is typical art house fare that may not gather many commercial viewers, but if one is already into this type of film, it might prove to be an experience.

Rating: ★★★¼☆ 

Jean Gentil is part of the 2011 Lima Film Festival:

August

Sat. 6 – 7.45pm
Sala Azul, Centro Cultural Pontificia Universidad Catolica (CCPUCP)

Sun. 7 – 5.15pm
Sala 5 – Cineplanet Alcazar

Mon. 8 – 8pm
Sala 1 – Cineplanet San Miguel

Wed. 10 – 8.30pm
Sala 8 – Cineplanet Risso

Fri. 12 – 9.45pm
Sala 5 – Cineplanet Alcazar

Jean Gentil is also part of the Melbourne International Film Festival:
MUBI.com is offering a FREE stream until August 7th (subtitles in English ONLY).

amy

YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

4 Responses

  1. Rodrigo says:

    Just watched this. The film in terms of looks and scenario looks pretty. However, the main character is kinda frustrating to watch. And while his life has a depressing direction, instead of feeling depressed with the film, I felt bored at times.

    Still, it isn’t a bad film for what the topic is about – it even has some nice moments to watch. You’re right about the mood part for viewing this, it’s not for the casual moviegoer at all.

    Maybe I should give this another watch, but I’m not sure if I wanna go through it again.

    • amy says:

      @Rodrigo, the first time I streamed it, I was bored to death. LOL Honest to god. But they screened it at the press Film fest one of the mornings, and instead of skipping it like I was thinking of doing if it had been the second screening that day… I stuck around. I enjoyed it more then, I have no idea why.

      It was hard to understand why he wasn’t willing to work at anything “not dignified” if he was really not living well. but oh well~ he was a man of ‘knowledge’ I guess… I was always told that people did everything possible not to starve. Maybe it’s not the case anymore~

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