The latest from 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days director Mungiu is a slow burning but utterly transfixing exorcism drama based on a news story from 2005. A novice nun in an Orthodox monastery in Romania, Voichita welcomes an old friend from their days in the orphanage - but she is taken aback when Alina tries to persuade to come away to Germany. Meanwhile the monastery’s stern priest becomes convinced Alina is a temptress possessed by the Devil.
"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
"If you long for the bleak intelligence of an Ingmar Bergman film, where humankind is deeply flawed and God is indifferently silent and the landscape is cloaked in perpetual winter, then Beyond the Hills promises to be your cup of despair." 3 stars Rick Groen, Globe & Mail
"Riveting to watch and fascinating to think about afterwards." Philip French, The Observer
When Claudiu Crulic, a young Romanian in Poland, was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, he became a pawn in a Kafkaesque miscarriage of justice and went on a hunger strike to protest his treatment in jail. Anca Damian’s documentary is by turns chilling and heartbreaking, and also ironic, with black humour forcing through.
Crulic himself “narrates” the film posthumously, his words voiced by Vlad Ivanov, star of such Romanian New Wave titles as Police, Adjective and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days—but what makes this extraordinary documentary even more compelling is its strong visual style: Damian uses handdrawn, cutout, and collage animation techniques to create a strikingly memorable film
"Technically a documentary, this brilliant medley of animation and cutouts, with slivers of live action tossed in, is creative interpretation at its most sublime. Crulic has a distinctly Eastern European dry humor, manifest in the drawings and in the rapid, highly detailed voiceovers (mostly in Romanian, with a few observational points made in English)…. Telling a tragic true story with almost lighthearted animation techniques is a brilliant choice that pays off." Howard Feinstein, Filmmaker
"Lean, astute… the variety of animation techniques - hand-drawn, cutout, stop-motion, and collage - indelibly convey the bureaucratic horrors the young man faced." Melissa Anderson, Village Voice
"Visually stunning… Magnificent." Anja Savic, Vancouver Weekly