Thursday, December 19, 2013

Beyond the Hills (Romania, 2012)

Nine Things about the Movie Beyond the Hills

1. This movie is based loosely on an actual incident that occurred at a Romanian Orthodox Catholic monastery in 2005.

2. It’s a quiet but gutsy tragedy of faith vs. doubt, of hanging on to your convictions past all reasonable boundaries.

3. It’s about a young woman named Alina. She goes to visit her secret ex-girlfriend, Voichita, who has joined a small convent of nuns that has partially broken away from the Orthodox Catholic Church. Alina is hoping to reconnect with Voichita, and is severely disappointed that Voichita has dedicated her life to the convent.

4. Alina is slightly mentally ill, and during her stay at the convent, she begins to break down. The nuns and the priest, who have deliberately broken most ties with modern society (they don’t even have electricity) aren’t sure what’s going on.

5. Full of religious superstition, they interpret Alina’s anger, broken heart and subsequent breakdown to possession by Satan.

6. The momentum and sense of foreboding slowly builds, and the last 45 minutes is a pretty distressing account of an attempted exorcism of Alina.

7. The cinematography and sound of the film are very well done – you really feel like you are in a little isolated corner of the world, tucked away from modern life.

8. The movie reminds us that when superstition clashes with science, nobody wins.

9. Hollywood likes to remake European movies, but I don’t think they have the guts to do this one. It would offend too many people.