4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days(2008)
Winner of the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival 2007, this is a grueling drama about illegal abortion in 1980s Romania. Otilla and Găbiţă share the same room in a student dormitory. They are students at a small University in Romania, during the last years of communism. Găbiţă is pregnant, abortion is illegal and neither of them have dealt with anything like this before. Otilia rents a room in a cheap hotel to do the dirty business.
4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days belongs to a larger project called: Tales from the Golden Age - a subjective history of communism in Romania told through the eyes of its people. It is the first film of the series.
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BY Andreas Heinemann Flicks Writer
The Golden Palm winner at last year's Cannes Film Festival, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a film about the ultimate test of friendship and black market abortions in communist era Romania. So yeah, it's not going to do anything to change the stereotype of Eastern European cinema as bleak and depressing. It is, however, a film so crammed full of emotion and highly wrought drama that a screening ends up a being a draining experience, but a rewarding one if you can immerse yourself in the world of the characters.... More
The plot is a very simple one. Pregnant, passive university student Gabita has enlisted the help of her friend Otilia to organize and co-ordinate an illegal termination. At its heart, the film is a character study, based around the question - how far will Otilia go for her friend before circumstances become too dire and she must recoil? Traditional narrative concerns are happily set aside to magnify this dynamic. Similarly, the hand held shooting style lends the film an intimate, gritty aesthetic as well as allowing the actors to carry the emotional weight of the story without interruption from stylistic trickery. Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) in particular seizes this opportunity with relish and her performance is as good as any screen actress this year.
Flaws are present, but when the body of the work so compellingly and successfully goes for the emotional jugular, it's easy to let them slide. This film will split audiences into those who believe it's a classic and those who consider it unwatchable. Which side of that line you belong to probably stands in direct relation with your capacity for movies that wallow in their own darkness. I'm pretty sure this would be the worst first date movie ever though.Hide