Romania picks ‘Beyond the Hills’ for Oscar race

Mungiu pic won screenplay, actress at Cannes

PRAGUE — Romania has entered helmer Cristian Mungiu’s Cannes award winner “Beyond the Hills” into the race for foreign language Oscar.

The drama, based on a nonfiction novel by Tatiana Niculescu Bran, won screenplay for Mungiu while actress kudos was split between co-stars Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan at Cannes.

Story turns on a topical issue for the country, which has seen a generation of adults go abroad for jobs to support their families back home. It concerns a Romanian woman’s return from Germany to coax her friend to follow in her footsteps, placing her at odds with a local religious order.

Mungiu’s 2007 Cannes winner, “4 months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” was also submitted for an Oscar run, which the helmer credited with its later nomination for the Golden Globes, a first for Romania.

Critics have praised “Beyond the Hills” for its tight plotting and universal appeal and the helmer is credited with inspiring the pared-down, understated style of dozens of Romanian films made by admirers in the last five years.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the five nominees for best foreign film on Jan. 15. The 85th Academy Awards ceremony takes place Feb. 24.

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