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Review: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

Filmed with hand-held cameras, the movie draws us into the degrading physical and psychological ordeal of two young women, writes Rashid Irani.
Hindustan Times | By Rashid Irani, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 17, 2008 03:28 PM IST

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days


: Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu


: Cristian Mungiu


: ****

Foreign film aficionados will surely be enthused. Close on the heels of the Oscar-winning German classic

The Lives of Others

, comes this Romanian import which snagged the top prize at last year’s Cannes festival.

Unfolding over a 24-hour period, writer-director Mungiu’s corrosively bleak tale chronicles the efforts of a university student (Marinca) to see her petrified friend (Vasiliu) through an illegal abortion.

Set in an unnamed provincial town in 1987,

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

captures the grim milieu of Nicolae Ceausescu’s communist regime. Startling statistics reveal that up to half a million women died from illegal termination of pregnancies during his rule.

Filmed in long takes with hand-held cameras, the film draws us into the degrading physical and psychological ordeal of the two young women. Worse, they face years in prison if their ‘crime’ is discovered.

The hotel room- encounter with a backstreet abortionist (Vlad Ivanov, appropriately loathsome) and a tense party sequence are only two of several excellently directed and acted episodes.

The city’s under-lit alleyways as well as other labyrinthine locations contribute to the sense of claustrophobia. As the fearless but vulnerable good Samaritan, Anamaria Marinca is astonishingly lifelike. Laura Vasiliu serves as an ideal counterpoint, as her ungrateful roommate. This is a must-experience.

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