An excellent Romanian movie about the reunion of two old friends who face the clash of their new desires, values and priorities, in an austere Orthodox convent.
Information about the movie, at the bottom of the post
I was not a fan of Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu. His acclaimed movie “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”, winner of the Palm d’Or at Cannes in 2007, was not exactly in tune with my tastes, despite not being a bad film. I also saw other materials by Mungiu, and they reinforced my idea about his work: he shot his artistic flair in the foot with a tendency to overdo, to stage too much (blatantly), resulting in imbalance and a feeling of artificiality – which is ironic for the subjects he presented as authentic.
However, “Beyond the Hills” made me very happy to observe none of the details I didn’t like about his previous films. Instead, I was hooked from beginning to end, expressing out loud, from time to time, my appreciation for the dialogue, the genuineness of the actors’ play, cinematography, etc. It is definitely the work of an artist who has refined his craft. The movie has wonderful flow and pace – not too slow, not too hurried. The story is, sadly, based on a real incident. One of the most remarkable achievements of this film is to present a group of ignorant religious bigots as they are, without vilifying them – after all, they are also victims of their limitations, and they do what they think is right… in this case, exorcism. Two desperately lonely girls who grew up together at an orphanage in Romania – one finds a home in the convent, the other loses the “home” in her friend. Not a happy story.
Well made both in general and in detail. Art and structure balance each other beautifully. I think it’s Mungiu’s most realistic movie yet.
Probably, the make-or-break factor in appreciating the movie is the viewer’s interest (or lack of) about the subject.
Would I see it again? – Yes, someday
My Rating (1 to 10): 10
Don’t abandon others – I don’t know, I have no “lighter” suggestion after remembering this story.
Information about Dupa dealuri (EN: Beyond the Hills)
Year of release: 2012
Director: Cristian Mungiu
Writer: Cristian Mungiu (screenplay), Tatiana Niculescu Bran (novels)
Starring: Cosmina Stratan, Cristina Flutur, Valeriu Andriuta, etc.
For more information on “Dupa dealuri” (EN: “Beyond the Hills”), visit Wikipedia and/or IMDb