Week 47: 4 luni, 3 săptămâni şi 2 zile

Cristian Mungiu, 2007

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In 1967 Romania’s last Communist leader Nicolae Ceaușescu issued ‘Decree 770’ restricting abortion and birth control in his country in order to stimulate the growth of the population. The aim was to expand the nation from 23 to 30 million inhabitants. In the years between the issuing and reversal of the decree in 1989, over 9000 women died due to complications arising from illegal abortions. Mungiu’s “4 luni, 3 săptămâni şi 2 zile,” or “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” is set in 1987, and follows student Otilia Mihartescu as she helps her roommate Găbiţa Dragut to arrange an illegal abortion.

Without being judgemental, the film is an all too real portrait of the difficult choice that comes with abortion and the sacrifices it requires. “4 luni, 3 săptămâni şi 2 zile” allows us to experience the feeling of oppression that lingered over both men and women in the eighties in Romania. The mood of the film is strengthened by its realism, which stems from long lingering shots accompanied by a flow of natural sounding dialogue. The sense of fear surrounding illegal abortion is scarier then any monster will ever be, and yet it is something many people in the world are still faced with on a daily basis. Mungiu’s movie is a gripping study of social history.

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