Sunday, March 17, 2013

Barbara and Beyond The Hills

Two excellent films, both about people in urgent need to escape the backward world they're trapped in, both with very different outcomes. Barbara concerns a female doctor during the height of the cold war; although the pacing is very low key, it was fascinating watching the rather stunning Nina Hoss coolly going through her paces: planning, plotting, calculating- only to finally give in to her long buried better half.

Beyond The Hills finds us in the seclusion of an Orthodox Romanian monastery where a nun's troubled friend is about to wreak havoc on the peace and tranquility of their countryside. The film portrays what are basically religious fundamentalists, who unlike their Christian counterparts of the USA, and the Muslims of the Taliban are actually kind, good hearted people. They mean well, but that darn religion of theirs just makes 'em kinda kooky. And the results don't bode well. The film starts out very slowly, gradually building and quickening to a frenetic pace, to the point where I was laughing out loud as small hordes of nuns would scurry hither and yon from one end of the screen to the other like an antiquated Monty Python animation, their frantic, lemming like frenzy leading to the inevitable disaster. 

And although it may be a predictable result, the very end of this film is where it really shines anew as we are suddenly and ungraciously thrown from the mystical, self created world of an isolated monastery back into the everyday inanities of the modern day world.

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