Cristian Mungiu‘s Beyond The Hills has been playing in three theatres since Friday. Presumably a few HE readers have seen it by now; it would be nice to run some reactions. It’s got a very respectable 83% Rotten Tomato rating. I’ve been praising it up and down since catching it 10 months ago in Cannes. Time‘s Mary Pols said it “may be the best movie no one will want to see in 2013” I get that. But HE readers are different.
Okay, it’s a little long and perhaps too slowly paced, but that’s partly…perhaps entirely the point. Mungiu knows exactly what he’s doing, and I have to bluntly explain something. This movie is on you, man. You have to man up and sink in and study those nuns and that bearded, none-too-bright priest and those static situations and the stuff going in the background. Sometimes that’s the thing and not what’s happening in the foreground. Mungiu’s every-so-often decision not to have violent action occur front and center isn’t just brilliant — it’s historic.
You have to feel the chill wind and smell the goat’s milk and the burning wood and surrender to the grayness and the occasional snowfalls. And you definitely have to savor that final shot inside the police van. Either you get Romanian cinema or you don’t. BTH is a little bit dull at times, okay, but a major art film.