Jean Gentil is filled with quiet moments that scream out in pain. The titular Haitian character is a French teacher who has lost his job in Santo Domingo. He scours the city for new employment, but rather than find office work, the educated Gentil ends up on a rough-and-tumble construction site, where he’s the only one heaving cinder blocks in a button-down shirt and slacks. Unhappy with his situation, Gentil begins a trek back to Haiti on foot, scavenging for food and lodging along the way, his deep religious faith being tested with each new desperate struggle for survival. Gentil’s personality is represented by his name, which means “nice” in French and “agreeable” in Spanish, but he’s also shy and meek, especially when it comes to speaking with women. The movie’s desperate solitude is reinforced by long shots that linger and dialogue-free sequences that are more about ambiance and emptiness than narrative thrust. The film is beautiful in its restraint, recalling the sad silences found in a Hal Hartley movie or Hirokazu Koreeda’s Mabarosi. While Jean Gentil is deliberate and sometimes drowsy, it’s necessarily so: It shows the slow, frustrating disintegration of a Haitian man’s life, which acts as a metaphor for the country itself.