As part of an early look at next year’s Oscars, Prize Fighter — in an ongoing series — is highlighting several of the directors and official entries submitted by a whopping 71 countries competing for the Academy Award for best foreign language film.
Five years after his 2007 critically acclaimed beautiful and brutal feature about illegal abortion, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, failed to snag an Oscar nomination, prompting controversy, director Cristian Mungiu is back with another stark, hyper-realistic drama: Romania’s official 2013 foreign film Oscar entry Beyond the Hills.
“In a very strange way, 4 Months‘ failure to be nominated in 2007 brought us a lot of notoriety,” Mungiu told EW recently by email. “What we learned from that experience is that the cinema that we do might be very appreciated by the press and festivals, but it won’t necessarily be the kind of cinema appreciated by the voters for the foreign Oscar. This is not ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ It is just a fact. Once you understand this, you are going to be more relaxed about the results.”
Beyond the Hills, like 4 Months, touches on dark, depressing, difficult subject matter, telling the story of 25-year-old Alina (Cristina Flutur), who reunites with her childhood friend Voichita (Cosmina Stratan), now a fledgling nun in a sparse Orthodox convent in Romania. Flutur’s Alina, similar to the women in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, is complex and emotional, prone to outbursts and intensity. In other words, she’s human.
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