☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼
Philippe Grandrieux meets Šarūnas Bartas under a leaden sky in Andrei Stefanescu's sophomore feature - a lyrical, genre-defying meditation on love, guilt, distress, solitude, friendship, madness and the irreversible loss of oneself during the unstoppable decent into nothingness.
A spiritual sequel to an off-kilter, nihilistic, (anti)romantic 'drama' Sleep Awake (Dormi Trezeste-te), #Beings is a highly unconventional piece of (no-budget) cinema; an almost wordless, unapologetically gloomy poem which plunges you into the innermost depths of human soul.
It focuses on three young people who seem to have been stripped of their very essence and turned into somnambulists, completely unaware of the unforgiving reality. Teo (Catalin Jugravu) is a photographer who is so enamored with his job, he barely notices his girlfriend Eva (Doro Höhn) and their mutual friend Ana (Andrea Christina Furrer). They look for affection, yet they ostracize each other in times of need, isolating themselves in the suffocating cocoons of despair.
Although we know nothing about them, their pain is almost tangible, materialized in the air surrounding both them and us, the viewers. It is hardly a pleasant experience, but it is deeply felt, especially if you are prone to fits of melancholy. And the moody atmosphere - supported by ominous humming and occasionally bordering psychological horror - is so thick you can taste its bitterness.
In order to capture the protagonists' tortured mental and emotional states reflected on their faces - in subtle microexpressions and/or eyes gazing into foggy distance - Stefanescu mostly employs close-ups and mid-shots to great effect. His portraiture is simultaneously intimate and cold, his film immersive and alienating, set in the world of eternal grays.
There is not even a glimmer of hope on the horizon, which is aptly emphasized by the poignant, disturbingly calm finale playing out against the backdrop of sunset over Teufelsberg...