4 Months, 3 Weeks, & 2 Days


Mar 1, 2006
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4 Months, 3 Weeks, & 2 Days
Copyright © 2008 IFC Films
During the final days of communism in Romania, two college roommates Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) and Gabita (Laura Vasiliu) are busy preparing for a night away. But rather than planning for a holiday, they are making arrangements for Gabita’s illegal abortion and unwittingly, both find themselves burrowing deep down a rabbit hole of unexpected revelations. Transpiring over the course of a single day, Mungiu’s film is a masterwork of modern filmmaking, by parts poignant and shocking. Nominated for 4 European Film Awards including Best Picture and one of the standout hits of the Telluride, Toronto and New York Film Festivals, 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS is a modern classic that will stay with you long after you’ve left the theater.

n Theatres: January 25th, 2008
Rating: NR

Looks pretty intense.
Feast Your Mind: How to Show Thought on Film

The movie "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," by Romanian writer-director Cristian Mungiu, won the Palme d'Or at Cannes last year, going on to become an international sensation. The film, which opens in Washington on Friday, tells the story of Otilia (Anamaria Marinca, shown above, second from right), a college student during the communist Ceausescu regime, who in the course of a harrowing day must help a friend obtain an illegal abortion, negotiate with an extortionist "doctor" and attend a party at the home of her boyfriend's bourgeois parents. In one extraordinary uninterrupted scene set at a crowded dinner table, Otilia silently endures the condescension of people who have accommodated and even prospered in the very political system she is so desperately trying to subvert and survive in.

The Post asked Cristian Mungiu: What does this scene mean to you, technically and philosophically?

I wanted very much to depend on you as a spectator to experience what that character was experiencing in that scene. She doesn't want to be there; the important things in her life are happening someplace else. It's my attempt at showing what she thinks. She's not saying anything, just thinking about something, but you realize what she's thinking about just by watching her. There are a lot of other layers connected to that scene: She's seeing a possible way of life, the one she might have if she steps into this conventional life and family. At the same time, it gives you a lot of perspective about that society and prejudices, that there were social classes, that we weren't equal. Visually, I wanted to remind people a little bit of the Last Supper, but then I decided the thing to do was focus more on Anamaria, so we stepped forward and got closer to them. Then I encouraged this ballet in front of the camera that makes her dizzy, as a way of signaling what's going on in her head. That scene became the landmark of the film, and the most important scene for a lot of people. It's very difficult to imagine you can shoot a dinner table scene in an original way after 100 years of cinema.

-- Interview conducted and condensed by Ann Hornaday


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