This profoundly emotional film by Cristian Mungiu, based on Tatiana Niculescu Bran's books, investigates real events which occurred at the Tanacu monastery in Romania. There a young nun died in 2005 after an exorcism ritual.
Magnificently photographed by Oleg Mutu, it is a stark chronicle of women on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
The story centres on the powerful emotional bond between two young women Alina (Cristina Flutur) and Voichita (Cosmina Stratan) who exist within the physical and psychological confines of a rural Orthodox convent.
They are the sacrificial female victims of destructive religious dogma in the new, post-Ceausescu, "Europeanised" Romania which leads to Alina's exorcism and death.
Mungiu engages the curiosity in an atmosphere of emotional and moral crisis, while maintaining a non-judgemental distance throughout.
The film confirms the director's creative talent and willingness to tackle the big issues in confronting the rigid religious rules, ignorance and poverty prevalent in contemporary Romanian society.