This tragicomic pageant by Sergei Loznitsa (My Joy, NYFF 2010) brings a roiling energy and a lunatic sense of desperation to its larger-than-life vision of today’s Russia. Inspired by a Dostoevsky short story, A Gentle Creature follows an unnamed woman (Vasilina Makovtseva) moving through a prison town underworld after attempting to visit her incarcerated husband. Loznitsa uses the town as a microcosm for a country where corruption and authority are so intertwined as to be indistinguishable. A Gentle Creature brings its own genius to a Russian tradition of social panoramas, and as the film takes a turn into the carnivalesque and the infernal, it gets at the deeply troubled slumber of a beleaguered country.