Cinema Enthusiast

Scribblings from a lifelong lover of film. Keeping track of films I watch, the books I read, my blog posts and all related interests.

Aspiring librarian/former screen studies student who dreams of one day dabbling in film programming or archiving film documents or at the very least serving popcorn at an independent theater of some kind! I'm a lifelong pursuer of film to the point where it in large part defines me. I write so I can remember and so I can grow in my efforts to articulate. The online film community is a wondrous place where I hope to interact with many fellow cinephiles!

Idolizes Louise Brooks, Leonard Cohen, Joanna Newsom and Jim Henson. Favorite film is Bringing Up Baby (although in a couple of years I feel Shop Around the Corner could take that coveted spot) but I literally have hundreds and hundreds of favorite films that range from Fat Girl and Dogtooth to The Muppet Christmas Carol and The Emperor's New Groove. I also write for Verite, CineOutsider, and Criterion Cast.

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Films Seen in 2013:
#148. Beyond the Hills (2013, Mungiu)

Can we all just agree that Cristian Mungiu has the best shot compositions by a director currently working? This is a harrowing work of good intentions gone horribly wrong under the perverted superstitious-driven perspective that can come through religion. It looks at a system misused in the daily life of this monastery where judgment becomes clouded and oppression against women comes through in ways that fundamentally misunderstand people’s motivations, emotions, feelings, reactions and inner selves. There is so much going on in this scathing but always admirably level-headed critique. Mungiu likes to make films that present a story that, while from his own point-of-view, promotes individual response and thought. He wants people to be thinking about the issues that are brought up and how they feel about the story presented. He doesn’t want the audience to be thinking about what he was trying to say. This makes for a film as complex as life itself.

There are no villains; everyone involved is all-too human but unable to see what is in front of them. Meaningful values have been dwindled down into limited perspectives and a medieval way of living. It’s all backwards. It becomes difficult to pinpoint when everything starts to take an uncontrollable turn in this story which is unfortunately based on an actual event.

Like the masterpiece that is 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, this is rooted in a complex and loyal female friendship, this time with unspoken intimacy and hinted history. Both women have been and are continuously let down by various institutions they come in contact with. One has committed herself to God and the other, who has some unchecked mental sickness, clings to her friend, the only person she has left. That stalemate allows the eventual tragedy to unfold in the way it does. Mungiu continues to use tension, a lack of music, long unbroken takes with precise composition and a disturbing overlay told through bleak humanism. I had been waiting for this film for 2 years and it did not disappoint. It enthralled me at every moment even when I so desperately wanted to look away.