Wednesday, September 19, 2012

viff | beyond the hills

Could so easily be yet another "Catholic = bad" film. But the Film Comment comment suggests it's maybe more nuanced than that. Here's hoping.

Beyond the Hills
(După dealuri)
(Romania, France, Belgium, 2012, 152 mins, DCP)

Oct 09 10:30 am Granville 2
Oct 11 09:30 pm Granville 7

A nun is torn between her devotion to god and her loyalty to a lifelong companion in Cristian Mungiu’s riveting follow-up to 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days. "The increments with which the screws of tragedy turn are finely calibrated."--Sight & Sound. Winner, Best Actress (shared by leads Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur), Best Screenplay, Cannes 2012.

After his race-against-the-calendar abortion thriller 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, Cristian Mungiu employs a slow-burning brand of suspense in this riveting account of a nun torn between her devotion to god and her loyalty to a lifelong companion. Having found her calling at a remote Romanian monastery, Voichita (Cosmina Stratan) is taken aback by the arrival of Alina (Cristina Flutur), who insists that they flee to Germany together. When the devout nun demurs, Alina comes apart at the psychological seams, leaving the monastery’s authoritarian priest (Valeriu Andriuta) convinced that she’s possessed. As Aline’s rescue attempt cedes to the priest’s relentless efforts to save her soul, Mungiu’s technical brilliance transforms Beyond the Hills into an equally captivating and disconcerting experience. His masterful long takes not only draw us deeper into the women’s trials, they also leave us with no avenue of escape from the mounting tension of his latest provocative tragedy.

"A quintessentially praiseworthy festival film: weighty in intent, unfamiliar enough in setting, rigorously masterful in execution... But what is remarkable about Beyond the Hills and the unexpected interrogations it awakens is the lingering sense of doubt it leaves you with. Not merely as to the virtues of organized religion -- that would be too simple -- but just as much the facile condemnation of it... It is a work that forces you into the not entirely pleasant yet oddly rewarding territory of moral uncertainty."--Joumane Chahine, Film Comment

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