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Cinema Verité from Romania

  • Jul 5, 2008
4 MONTHS 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS ('4 luni, 3 saptamâni si 2 zile') is a powerful film that asks us to witness several horrors - Ceausescu's communist Romania in 1987, illegal abortion, and the extremes/abuses of friendship. Writer/director Cristian Mungiu captures one day in the lives of a few common people in Bucharest, lingering over each of the individuals just long enough to sense the terror of the moment, but continuing to move the pace of the story at a speed that capitalizes on the incidents in life that come just short of stopping the world for the people immediately involved. It is a very tough movie to watch but a uniquely fascinating work of art that deserves plaudits for the bravery of those who created it.

Without introduction the viewer is placed in a dormitory in Bucharest where two roommates - Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) and Gabita (Laura Vasiliu) seem preoccupied with an unidentified appointment. Through the rapid progress of the actions of Otilia we learn that Gabita is pregnant and in need of an abortion. Because she is young and single and afraid to make her condition known, Gabita convinces her closest friend Otilia to make all of the arrangements. Otilia finds a hotel room, engages the black market abortionist Bebe (Vlad Ivanov) to meet the two girls that evening in a sleazy hotel to perform the abortion. Bebe may be shady but he is up front with the girls, explaining that Gabita is too far along for a safe abortion, but with sufficient money he agrees to perform the act (insufficient funds force Otilia to 'pay ' Bebe in a demeaning way). While Gabita awaits the action of the procedure performed, Otilia leaves her for a promised visit to her boyfriend Abi's (Alexandru Potocean) mother's birthday dinner. Otilia, distraught at the punishing circumstances of the day, finds it difficult to endure the superficial dialogue of Abi's family and friends and soon escapes the party to return to Gabita at the hotel. What she discovers severs the remaining traces of friendship bonding so tried by the 'victimized' selfish and arrogant Gabita, and the film ends as strangely as it begins - life simply goes on no matter how brutal the realities are.

Mungiu elects to tell his story (based on a true story shared with him by a friend) as a spontaneous moment, abetted by feeling the prolonged shooting takes of the film provide. The acting is excellent in the manner in which it seems improvised. There are many aspect of the film that will make many viewers avert the eyes, but the message is so clear that staying with the film to the end drives home many facts and truths that beg for awareness. Cristian Mungiu is a talent to watch. In Romanian with subtitles. Grady Harp, July 08

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More 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days reviews
review by . February 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: oustanding performance by Anamaria Marinca     Cons: none for me     The Bottom Line:   "you know you mean only harm  oppression  you reach out with your long arm"  ~Harper     One of the things that made 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days so compelling was the washed out look of the camera work. Had it been polished and glossy it would have detracted from the feeling of the era and the circumstances …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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About this movie



Director: Cristian Mungiu
Genre: Drama
Release Date: January 25, 2008
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: October 14, 2008
Runtime: 1hr 53min
Studio: Genius Products Llc
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