I don't remember how I became aware of the Romanian film 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, but I will never forget the first time I watched it. It tells the story of Găbiţa, a college student who finds herself pregnant, and her friend Otilia, who agrees to help her obtain an illegal abortion. It is exquisitely crafted and brilliantly executed; the story follows Otilia throughout the course of this single day, and the tension is palpable. Cristian Mungiu is an intensely talented director, never revealing everything to the audience, sticking solely to Otilia's perspective, and so putting us firmly in her shoes. It very deservingly won the Palme D'or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
Mungiu is out with a new film, and it is playing now at Village 8 as the newest installment in the Louisville Exclusives series. It is Beyond the Hills, and it, too, premiered at Cannes, taking the award for Best Screenplay; it was also Romania's entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the last Academy Awards, and made the shortlist before the final five nominees were announced.
Cristina Flutur stars as Alina, a woman who travels to a monastery to visit her friend Voichiţa (Cosmina Stratan). Alina wants her to leave, remembering their traumatizing childhood under the watchful eye of particularly strict nuns, but Voichiţa is determined to stay – and then things begin to turn frightening. The film is based on the true story of alleged demon possession as set forth in the non-fiction novels of Tatiana Nicolescu Bran.
Beyond the Hills is scheduled to play at Village 8 until next Thursday, April 25. Village 8 is located at 4014 Dutchmans Lane. Complete theater information and advance ticket sales can be found at the Village 8 website.
Image: Internet Movie Database