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…
Film #27 of 30 in my March Around The World | 2015 Challenge
Little does tech student Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) know what she's getting herself into when she agrees to help get an abortion for her pregnant roommate Gabriela "Gabita" Dragut (Laura Vasiliu). The year is 1987 and Romania is still very much under the brutal control of the Ceausescu communist regime. Penalties for illegal abortions are severe, ranging from three-to-five-year prison terms to the death sentence.
Nevertheless, the two women decide to go ahead with the risky business. They hire a "fixer" named Bebe (Vlad Ivanov), who was recommended by one of their friends. Of course, pretty much everything goes wrong from that point on, but not…
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…
"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.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
'4 Months...' has been sitting in my 'to watch' list for the last 3 years, scaring me with its promise of direst reality. Even after seeing a handful of Haneke and Dardenne pics in the interim, I had rejected this under the assumption it would be an even deeper reach into the dark desperation of human banality. I also noted it's freakily high metacritic score of 97. This is a shameful and serial rejection of genre (and I know I'm not the only one), an interesting subject in itself. But what am I rejecting? Having to engage with the pain and suffering of others? Being reminded of humanity's bitter truths? Probably. Or maybe it's the possibility of being fed hopelessness.…
March Around the World | #23 - Romania
For me this is an example of when a film's bleakness and realism is just too much and it begins to border on unwatchable. There's no doubting 4 Months' qualities but I find there's a fine line that films shouldn't cross that this unfortunately does. I can appreciate where others would find joys in this (although maybe that's not a wise choice of word) but for me it just left me slightly depressed and exhausted, and not in a good way.
Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days was slightly disappointing for me. I absolutely loved Beyond the Hills, Mungiu's last film. I found 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days to be extremely distant and withdrawn. This is a character driven drama that does nothing with the characters. The relationship between the two lead characters is not believable. This really hinders the believability of the film. The film's story is so simple. Nothing is ever done to liven it up and nothing is ever done to make you the least bit interested in the outcome. While the lead performances are great and there are some impressive long takes. I was happy that Mungiu never tried to shove his opinion on abortion in your face.
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014, now updated every mid-April.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the…