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.

Jean Gentil

Dominican Republic-Mexico-Germany

  • Production: An Aurora Domenicana, Canana Films, Baerbel Mauch Film production, in association with Lanza del Norte, Panamericana de Producciones, Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV de San Antonio de los Banos. (International sales: Aurora Domenicana, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.) Produced by Pablo Cruz, Israel Cardenas, Laura Amelia Guzman, Baerbel Mauch. Executive producers, Sylvia Conde, Eduardo Guzman, Pedro Guzman, Gabriel Nuncio, Geminiano Pineda, Desiree Reyes. Directed by Laura Amelia Guzman, Israel Cardenas. Screenplay, Guzman, Cardenas, in collaboration with Alejandro Andujar.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Guzman, Cardenas; editor, Cardenas; art director, Eddy Guzman; costume designer, Patricial Grassals. Reviewed at Thessaloniki Film Festival (competing), Dec. 11, 2010. (Also in Venice Film Festival -- Horizons; Cairo Film Festival -- Festival of Festivals.) Running time: 82 MIN.
  • With: With: Jean Remy Genty, Yanmarco King Encarnacion, Pail Henri Presume, Nadal Walcott, Lys Ambroise. (Spanish, Haitian Creole, French, English dialogue)