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Alina and Voichita have been friends since their orphanage days. And they have been lovers since they became sexually mature. But despite their oath of mutual fidelity, Alina, who could not bear poverty any more, emigrated to Germany where she became a barmaid. Now she just could not take the estrangement from Voichita and today she is back to Romania with a view to taking Voichita along with her to Germany. The only trouble is that in the meantime her girlfriend has betrayed her in falling in love with... God! Voichita indeed now lives in a convent where she plans to make vows. The priest agrees, if somewhat reluctantly, to accommodate Alina before their (hypothetical) departure. He sees all too well that not only is the young woman materialistic but hostile and troublesome as well... Written by
Beyond the Hills is an intense film narrating the relationship between two friends, who were once raised in an orphanage together. Alina, a waitress in a bar in Germany visits her friend Voichita, who is now a nun in an orthodox church in rural Romania. Serene atmosphere in the church is shaken upon the arrival of Alina. Incidents that follows seriously raises the questions of conventional religious rituals and shakes the conscience of the audience in Mungiu's style.
Even said that the movie deals with the relationship, but that is in the backdrop of the religious practices that are carried out with strong beliefs. Brings out the unquestionable faiths to be subjected for assessment.
Movie is pretty intense and it grabs the attention of the audience within a minute or so and keeps you completely engrossed for two and a half hours. Opening scene at the railway station needs a special mention that presents both the characters beautifully.
Excessive usage of hand-held camera has been a letdown at some places where a smooth camera movement wouldn't have disturbed audience concentration. Excellent dialogs but seems to be bit excessive and some of them not that important with the story could have been avoided. Absence of BGM throughout the movie and just with the sounds of the ambiance probably makes the audience glued but the failed to make the impression that visuals combined with music can together create.
Both the lead actress Cosmina Stratan as Voichita & Cristina Flutur as Alina are pretty good in their roles but the lack of scope on the characterization was a bit let down especially for Cosmina Stratan. Few more shots to reflect her emotions & character might have earned high recognition. But whatever the scope provided all the actors were brilliant.
Watching '4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days' was an unique experience as never one has watched such a style on screen before. Beyond the hills is presented with the similar style but still a very good film in its scope.
Cristian Mungiu will be on the watch list of many movie bluffs hereafter.
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