Beyond the Hills (2012)

Beyond the Hills (2012)

Faith and friendship are tested in this bleak, unsettling Romanian drama

7.3

Movie

Belgium, France
Romanian
Drama, Romance
2012
CRISTIAN MUNGIU
Adrian Acuta, Alina Berzunteanu, Călin Chirilă
150 min

TLDR

I can’t believe this was real.

What it's about

After going separate ways, two childhood sweethearts Voichița and Alina meet again, after Alina left their orphanage to work in Germany and Voichița has chosen to become a nun.

The take

In modern day Europe, demonic possession seems to be a thing of the past, something most likely to be attributed to mental illness, and something that can be dealt with through modern medicine, not exorcism. Still, exorcisms are conducted in certain areas in the continent, and some instances don’t go the way they should. Inspired on the real life Tanacu exorcism, Beyond the Hills doesn’t depict the event through a horror or melodramatic lens– instead the film is stoic, naturalistic, with long single takes that linger uncomfortably and repetitively. As Alina pleads to Voichița to help her, to choose her and their bond, Voichița grapples with wanting the modern yet isolating freedom she knows Alina has found elsewhere, while still wanting the refuge religious tradition has granted her, but also has made her dependent on. It does take a while to reach its conclusion, but Beyond the Hills is a deeply unsettling and striking movie to watch.

What stands out

With a runtime longer than two hours, Beyond the Hills might be a tad too slow for some viewers, myself included.

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