A drama centered on the friendship between two young women who grew up in the same orphanage; one has found refuge at a convent in Romania and refuses to leave with her friend, who now lives in Germany.
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Superb direction markes by its unique camera work, which relies on finding the perfect camera shot, and then proceed with the filming, characterized by its long takes filled with sublime dialogues which make great reflections about religion, faith and friendship. The screenplay and the performances are outstanding, which led this film to the best screenplay and best actresses award at the Cannes Film Festival.
For all its supposed bleakness, it is the beautifully souffle-light mise en scene that makes the film exceptional, forming the work into a giant yet discrete canvas of Brueghelian horrors, Goya spinsters, and sly black comedy.
The film that convinced me that Mungiu was a remarkable director. It's a multi-layered story of love and personal integrity, vilified and destroyed by communal ignorance. Told without sensationalism, this real-life story explodes in your head after watching, like a timed bomb.
Masterful picture. Mungiu uses the style and pacing of 4M3W2D, but enriches it with deeper characterization and thematic exploration. I can't believe it didn't get a Foreign Language Oscar nom; further evidence of how out of touch those voters are.
In terms of the synchronization of a visual style (or general "visuality") and a milieu, Beyond the Hills is very much a total triumph. It is very much apparent that there needed to be this kind of film in this kind of space. That being said, I have some issues w/ the fact that this particular story has been told in this particular way. We are dealing w/ a fairly manipulative approach and a kind of queasy exposé.
A magnificent exercise in moral ambiguity and a truly insightful look at human hypocrisy and the dangers of religion as a social institution. Mungiu's signature is already evident - the rigorous mise-en-scène, the uneasiness of the characters, the Haneke-esque build-up of tension - and, just as 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS, its punch is unforgettably ruthless.