In the great chilly tradition of Carl Theodor Dreyer and Ingmar Bergman, Romanian director Cristian Mungiu navigates the intersection of blind faith and pure moral panic with a horrifying and tragic precision. The setting is a monastery in remote Moldavia to which Alina (Cristina Flutur) has travelled to rescue her childhood friend – and fellow orphanage alumnus – Voichita (Cosmina Stratan). Collision ensues: Alina believes she's saving her old friend from a living death, but Voichita comes to wonder if Papa, the stern head of the order, isn't right in thinking the new arrival an emissary of the devil. None of this is permitted any melodramatic or sensational indulgence: As he demonstrated with the devastating 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Mingiu is a deft observer of the subtle intricacies of female relationships, and everybody here is just doing what they think they're supposed to.
At VIFF: Oct. 9, 10:30 a.m. Granville 2; <QL>Oct. 11, 9:30 p.m. Granville 7