4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

In the last days of communism in Romania, Gabita (Laura Vasiliu), a young college student, wants to end ...
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Item added by Automatt. Added on 10/20/2008
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4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days 4

A Romanian film released in 2007, it was written and directed by Cristian Mungiu, and won several awards at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. The story takes place towards the end of the Ceausescu government...1987, to be exact...and concerns 2 college friends named Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) and Gabita (Laura Vasiliu), who are attempting to arrange an illegal "blackmarket" abortion for Gabita. The pacing is somewhat slow...those expecting an "action" picture should probably try something else...but the acting is disturbingly realistic, the mood is grim and grows steadily grimmer, and without making any overt moral judgments, Mungiu and the actors show the horrors of "illegal" abortion, the emotional scars left on those who go through with it, and the increasing sense of desperation for young women in a closed, repressive society that leaves them precious few options or choices (there is the ambiguous suggestion that Otilia herself might be pregnant thanks to a decent-but-dense boyfriend she no longer loves, and might be having to avail herself of the same "services" that Gabita has).

Romania is a place I've always wanted to visit (the Dracula shtick, and in photographs it looks hauntingly beautiful, and it has a long, colorful history) but after Anthony Bourdain's disappointing visit there, and watching this movie, it's a "dream" I'm rethinking. Everything in the film-- the buildings, the people, the streets, the entire surroundings-- is bleak and depressing. The acting is impressively naturalistic; Marinca in particular shines, but Vasiliu, and Vlad Ivanov, as the sadistic, no-nonsense blackmarket abortionist, are nearly as good. I debated giving the film another star, although I don't know that it quite qualifies as a "classic" or "masterpiece". Still, it's an incredibly powerful narrative no matter what side of the abortion issue you stand on, and is a film that will linger on in the memory long after you have seen it. Highly recommended.

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