Romanian Cristian Mungiu is back in competition at Cannes for the 4th time. After winning the Palme d’Or for 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days in 2007, this year he presents Beyond the Hills, his second film in the Official Selection.
Educated at the University of Film in Bucharest, he started his career working as assistant director to Radu Mihailenu on Train of Life, a film with a strong anti-war stance in which Jews build their own fake deportation train. It was perhaps in this early experience that Cristian Mungiu first expressed his desire to speak out through film. In his first solo work 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, he followed a young woman getting an illegal abortion under Ceausescu’s regime.
Following his consecration at the Festival de Cannes, Cristian Mungiu made Tales from the Golden Age
, a reference to the term used by Ceausescu’s propaganda department. “The film paints a picture of a nation trying to survive in the day-to-day faced with the implacable logic of a dictatorship, revealing as it does so some of the comical aspects of a political system that takes itself too seriously” says the Romanian filmmaker, another denunciation of the Communist regime presented in Un Certain Regard in 2009.
Today he is back with Beyond the Hills, a film based on real events, relating the actions of an extremely rigid convent priest. For this he tries to remain objective, “This film deals with the feeling of guilt, but it is more about love and choices, about the things people do for their beliefs, about the difficulty of knowing Good from Evil, religion interpreted literally, indifference as a more serious sin than intolerance, about freedom of choice.”
Beyond The Hills will be shown in the Grand Théâtre Lumière on Saturday 19 May at 3.30 pm.