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Art & Media

'Beyond the Hills' finds the devil in ignorance, fear

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In "Beyond the Hills," a young woman, Alina (Cristina Flutur), returns home to Romania after living and working in Germany for several years. She visits her childhood friend Voichita (Cosmina Stratan), who is a novice in a Greek Orthodox monastery in a remote area. Both women were raised in a state orphanage and seem to have had an intimate relationship in their teen years that Alina now wants to rekindle. Voichita, however, wants to be kind but is focused on dedicating her life to God and others.

Who will take home the Oscars this year?

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2012 was an excellent year for cinema. However, three films about aging that I liked were not even nominated, such as Dustin Hoffman's "Quartet," Jake Schreier's "Robot & Frank" or John Madden's "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." Instead, Michael Haneke's accomplished and artistic yet bleak French-language film "Amour," about an aging couple in Paris, received four nominations. Please note that Dame Maggie Smith appears in both "Quartet" and "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," which makes home viewing a must.

Conclave to silence at least nine tweeting cardinals

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Parrots may squawk in the Vatican Gardens during a conclave, but the cardinals are not allowed to tweet.

For most of the 117 red-vested princes of the church who are eligible to vote for a new pope, Twitter isn't an issue at all. But the College of Cardinals does include at least nine active tweeters. From the moment they enter the Sistine Chapel to cast their ballots, they will be forbidden access to their accounts along with all other forms of communication with the outside world.

Respond to education, labor crises for youth with real help, pope says

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Young people's essential needs, including decent work and an education, demand a serious, effective response from both the church and the wider community, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Problems facing young people "cannot be met with responses that are evasive or banal," he said, especially if humanity is going to have a hopeful, generous future.

The pope made his remarks Thursday during an audience with members and advisers of the Pontifical Council for Culture. The council was hosting a plenary meeting at the Vatican Feb. 6-9 on "Emerging Youth Cultures."

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