An accountant from Haiti is reduced to a penniless and shadowy existence in the neighboring Dominican Republic.
An accountant from Haiti who speaks four languages is reduced to a penniless and shadowy existence in the neighboring Dominican Republic in “Jean Gentil,” from Laura Amelia Guzman (herself Dominican) and Israel Cardenas (from co-producing Mexico). Documentary-like in its attention to quotidian detail and shot in impeccably composed images by the multihyphenate filmmakers, the relentlessly dour pic traces the slow voyage into oblivion of a talented immigrant looking for his place in a world that thinks it doesn’t need him. After a Horizons special mention in Venice and jury award at Thessaloniki, further fest action awaits.
If protag Jean (Jean Remy Genty) — always looking for work, something to eat and a place to sleep — remains something of a cipher, it’s because he not only feels robbed of a personality (as someone reduced to tending to his basic needs) but also because he represents the invisible masses of Haitian immigrant workers. Though not afraid of simply watching Jean going about his business, the helmers are too literal in other scenes, such as when Jean burns his diplomas or says he “only sees other people living.” Tech package is low-budget impressive.