Yet another year with yet another update.
2012 version can be found here.
2013 version can be found here.
Gabita is pregnant, abortion is strictly forbidden in Romania during the communist regime. Despite this it is common practice and Gabita wants an abortion. The movie follows her and her friend Otilia during the day she has made the appointment with Mr. Bebe to have the abortion.
It's deftly realistic, stark and emotionally shattering, but the biggest accomplishment of writer-director Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is its illumination of how the simple flourishes are often the hardest hitting ones. Each scene is set in one take; no cuts or fancy shots permeate the unflinchingly harrowing story. Only the camera lingers on this raw and real series of movements to let unfold its simplistic narrative almost like a book, and the reward in it is astounding.
For a film dubbed the abortion movie, it couldn't be further from this simple definition. At its main conflict nearing the halfway point this becomes finally spoke of and terribly hard to watch as an illegal one is…
By chance, I am watching this on Mother's Day. I make no apologies.
This film contains three stunning moments of sacrifice (well, more, really, but three that stood out). The first is when Otilia sleeps with the abortionist for Gabita (who then also sleeps with him). It's a disgusting moment, as the man forces a woman in a moment of pure vulnerability to pleasure him, despite being entirely off-camera. It's the most gut-churning moment of the entire film. It's also the moment that makes it clear how the anti-abortion laws fully put women at the power of men, making it as sleazy and direct as possible.
The second moment is when Otilia goes to her boyfriend's house, despite her awful…
Students Otilia and Găbița share a room in a Romanian village. The latter appears, at the beginning of the films, to be pregnant and the former is busy trying to arrange an illegal abortion to help her friend. She rents an hotel room where a doctor will perform the operation, but things turn out more complicated than planned, especially as the baby is not two months in development, as Găbița claimed, but well over four (as the title suggests). 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days won Best Foreign Language awards all over the globe and, to top it all, the prestigious Palme d’Or as well and that in one of the strongest years of modern cinema. Those accolades are…
Winner of the prestigious Palme d'Or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days is set in the final years of Communist Romania and tells the story of two young students named Otilia & Gabita, who are trying to transact an illegal abortion for the latter. When a doctor volunteering to do the then-forbidden job finally comes up, their hope is kindled but once his real motive surfaces, it results in a catastrophic incident that ends up changing the lives of both girls & their friendship, forever.
The plot is very silently structured & cleverly executed while the script maintains an effortless naturalness to keep the drama plausible and writer-director Cristian Mungiu has done a fabulous job in both…
This is punishing and unforgiving cinema made without apology. There was nowhere to hide for the average Romanian citizen in 1987 and we are punished with the same rough treatment. Except we have the option to turn away without burden safe in the knowledge that we don't have to sacrifice our own identity in order to get though the ordeal.
Cristian Mungiu's long takes are a challenge to see which of us blink first. There are long moments of reflection and uncomfortable silences that feel truly suffocating at times. It can't be said we don't know where to look in these moments because we have no options. Our eyes are forced into the same condensed…
March Across the World Challenge Film #8 - Romania
I recently had someone tell me when referring to why he didn't like the best film of last year, Boyhood, that he didn't want anything to do with realism in movies because it wasn't entertaining to watch what surrounds him every day in life. He turns to movies for an escape, as we all do at times, so I understand and appreciate that thought process and as always, to each their own. I won't tell him what to like or why he is wrong because it is a matter of opinion and he isn't wrong for his preferences, but personally I can't wrap my mind around such an indifference to a…
A barrel of laughs from beginning to end.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
The life of a citizen under the rule of a dictator can be cruel, alienating, and contradictory. The Ceaușescu regime in Romania is just one example of these extreme conditions, and it finds accurate representation in the films of the Romanian New Wave. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days depicts the total effect of this oppression in miniature, through the friendship and experiences of two university students, Otilia and Găbița. In their attempts to find an illegal abortion for the latter girl, writer/director Cristian Mungiu depicts the dehumanizing way in which the government forces its people together while isolating them at the same time. Mungiu accomplishes with a striking visual style, using long takes and careful framing with a…
Exquisitely dark and oppresive. Reminded me of Dardenne brothers' and Lukas Moodysson's films.
For such a powerful and affecting film it's remarkable how much of the bleak detail I'd forgotten.
I made a new friend who claims to not really like cinema (weird right?) and who went on to complain that her new girlfriend keeps making her watch all these shitty "tearjerkers" such as The Notebook and Fault in Our Stars, which she describes as pretty much the worst movies she's ever seen. I took it as a challenge and half in jest suggested, "I've got this amazing Romanian movie, set during the Communist era, it's about two women who seek out an illegal abortion, very bleak and real."
The outcome? She suggested that it was a million times better than The Notebook,…
"Once we start there's no turning back."
Around the World in 80 Films #15
Port of Call: Romania
Film #5 (A film with a number in the title!) of my Scavenger Hunt Challenge!
This film has made me 100% certain that I never want to get an abortion in 1980s Romania. This film is grim, and impossible to tear your eyes from.
Two word review: Real life
Really great film going in depth into the whole process and struggle to get an illegal abortion in Communist era Romania, seen here as quite possibly the bleakest place on Earth. Has some great long shots that just add on to the agony and dread of everything.
This film will longer long in your mind due to two reasons. One is the fetus that it shows. Pretty shocking to see it there as it is to the main character as well. Second is the long takes which are meant to unnerve the viewer because it did for me. This film doesn't try to take a stand to me about abortion of it is wrong or not just how difficult it is to get. The killer scene is after the abortion was done and she is sitting with her boyfriend's family and they are having a normal conversation. Her mind is not at the dinner at hand. Mine would probably be where her mind is too.
March Around The World Challenge #4-Romania
Interesting I have seen 2 films that deal with abortion. One would be Obvious Child and it covers that very lightly while this film covers it more brutally honest. I think it would have been nice to nominated for Best Foreign Film, but the screenplay alone is very Oscar worthy that would have least had a nomination for Best Original Screenplay. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days may not be for anyone who is easily offended with abortion, but for those who have nothing against the truth, definitely a riveting watch.
Not for the squeamish, this desperate-times abortion drama would have benefited from the central female friendship not being horribly unequal, but is otherwise grimly, and grimely, compelling.
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014, now updated every mid-April.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the…