Sunday, April 19, 2009

"4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" (2007) - Movie Review

There are certain conflicts which will be the only clearest thing in it, that there will be conflict forever. Atheist or Theist, Pro-life or Pro-choice. These are things which will be argued for no resolution when it comes personally. Everything are just statements and some one else’s fodder for words. The ideology as it stands crumbles when the reality comes banging into the door. One such is watching the Romanian film “4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days” giving in details you do not want to see of a student Gabita (Laura Vasiliu) going through abortion and her friend Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) helping her undergoing the trauma.

The film is not an advocacy of pro-choice or pro-life. It documents the two days in to these two girls encountering the worst of their emotional melt down and the fear of getting caught in the 1987 Communist Romania. They are room mates in the university and we see the dawn of the decision for Otilia to help Gabita in something. Gabita begins to pack while Otilia goes around getting stuffs like cigarettes, soap etc. for the procedure. Clearly both of them have not realized the gravity of the act they are getting in to which are the early scenes. Otilia visits her boy friend Adi (Alexandru Potocean) and they have a fight about the evening Adi has invited her for. It is his mother’s birthday and thus meeting their parents along side their friends. They make up of course as any couple and the day proceeds with Otilia going about doing the errands in setting up the hotel and meeting the guy (Ion Sapdaru). We do not know what the heck these two are planning till that point.

When the guy who actually is the doctor performing the abortion rattles the absolute horror of the reality Gabita is facing and Otilia in the middle asking the questions are the times the speculations in our mind gets the face. Gabita has lied of so many things that we are surprised by the patience of Otilia to help her further. She has lied to the doctor over the phone that she is two months pregnant instead of four or more, assumed the money as 3000 lia and did not tell any of this to Otilia. She with her naive eyes make the condition even more tenser than it actually is. The doctor played by Ion Sapdaru is the man who puts down any one by pure intimidation. Having done and encountered so many of this, he gives the bitter taste of the things ahead for Gabita. He scares because it is scary and he does it being the snob and having the attitude expected out of him. We think of him as the genuine sensible person and he shocks us in the end.

The cinematography by Oleg Mutu follows the characters around and stops as if they need their privacy from us. In the hotel with the receptionists and managers born to irritate their customer, Otilia’s job reaches its peak when she sits down for dinner with her boy friend’s parents and the bonus of their friends. That continuous shot of the dinner is a statement of the sociological and societal opinions, a traditional generation scoffing and scorning at the easiness the current generation gets through and of all the heart beat of Otilia racing through with this and the worry of her friend lying lonely in the hotel room.

Writer/Director Cristian Mungiu does not use music to elaborate the distress and tension of these two people. They are hit hard by the event that they act with the will and strength they have. Gabita knows it is the problem she created and ruined further but Otilia is thrust into the position of such stature by her friend. The whole ordeal makes her question what happens when she takes the place of Gabita due to circumstances? That brings in the whole personal encounter of the conflicting terms of right and wrong in the world of conscience.

If there are some times to smile, that would only be the smirk we drop when the doctor dictates the terms of the situation. When we are up to do something predictably risky and nerve wracking, the boldness to gear up takes a while and once made up especially if we are unaware of the reality, the hour following to it is a regularity with a concealed fear. When the objective becomes clear to the audience, one might wonder how casual they were before they arrived to this, but the truth is no one is casual and even if they are openly tense, what is that going to help in this?

“4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days” is a stressful film. It takes you through the unsettling feeling throughout the time and we are surprised at certain times of the clinical nature of the characters. We doubt their mercy and emotions. That comes to one’s own personal opinion towards the choices of an individual. Yet pro-life or pro-choice, at the end of the film everybody are in the same state of shock and sympathy.

1 comment:

vani said...

Nice write up Ashok. I had no clue what so ever until the doc steps in. Thanks for suggesting me this movie. Pro-life and pro-choice was covered in my sociology class; I wish I had known this movie back then, could have suggested for class viewing.