4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Opening in New York the past week in January for Oscar consideration, the exciting Romanian film, "4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days" will screen at Laemmle's Royal Theater on February 1. This is the dramatic story of University students Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) and her roommate and close friend, Gabita (Laura Vasiliu) getting prepared and readied for Gabita's abortion.
The events leading up to this moment create a tension and excitement which increase proportionally during and after the event, keeping our eyes glued to the screen. Director Christian Mungiu keeps his camera focused closely on the principals, adding savagery and spellbinding credibility to the events played out before us. The moments in the hotel room with the "doctor" abortionist "Bebe" (Vlad Ivanov) are quite powerful. After all, we're in Communist Romania of 1989, where abortions are against the law and the penalties, if caught, are quite severe. History tell us that between the years 1966-1989, over a half-million Romanian women died as a result of getting an illegal abortion.
The title alludes to the length of time Gabita waited before she went for her abortion although, originally, she told the abortionist that she was only two months pregnant – a critical, significant fact in the film. Ivanov inhabits the character of the abortionist with a rare, perceptive skill.
Much of the strength of the film comes from Oleg Mutu's virtuosic camera. He traces his characters closely with a dark, eerie feeling pervading every scene. The absence of music, plus black and white film add considerably to the mood Mungiu has developed.
A secondary story of the romance between Gabita and her boyfriend, Adi (Alex Potocean) give us insight into Romanian family life, which, unfortunately, tends to mitigate the impending disaster befalling Gabita but adds awareness of the celebration of Adi's mother's birthday. We see how important the rampant black market of the time is; where Kent cigarettes and Tic Tacs were prizes to be sought.
Already judged Best Foreign Film by the Chicago, Los Angeles and National Society of Film Critics in 2007 and the winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days is 113 minutes well-spent.
For more information, visit www.4months3weeksand2days.com