174 - 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2008)

A girl helps her friend to have an illegal abortion.

In 1987, Romania is still very much under the control of the Romanian Communist Party and as party of the law, abortion is still outlawed. After Gabita, a university student, becomes pregnant, she looks to her friend Otilia for help in organising an illegal abortion.

After booking the hotel, Otilia goes to meet the mysterious Mr. Bebe who agrees to carry out the abortion. Afterwards, Otilia agrees to visit her boyfriend Adi where his mother is celebrating her birthday.

As the meeting with Mr. Bebe takes a more sinister turn, Otilia and Gabita realise the true price of avoiding the law.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
When I flicked on to watch 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, I wasn't overly sure what it was about. The vague blurb on the DVD case was hardly enlightening so when the raw story of the film hit home it was rather shocking.

For me, the biggest testament to the film was the fact that both my parents sat down and watched this at the same time. More often than not during the time I have been watching the 5-star films they have turned their noses up at subtitled films, so for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days to keep their attention it is impressive.

And why shouldn't it keep their attention? Despite its gory theme, the film is for the most part grossly enthralling, detailing a secret society that has been kept hidden from the world until 23 years ago. It holds nothing back and this is testament to Cristian Mungiu's daring directing.

Some people may criticise the film for having moments where is drags by desperately slowly, but it is during these moments where we finally begin to appreciate Otilia and Gabita's surroundings, including the run-down Romanian neighbourhoods that somehow still manage to function despite their obvious lack of upkeep.

Certainly not a film for everyone, but it is an emotionally powerful piece, proving that Romanian film is an industry on the rise.