The next stop on my international film tour takes us to Romania, for 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (2007), a hard-hitting film set in the late 1980s about two young students (Anamaria Marinca and Laura Vasiliu) who are forced to go to great lengths to arrange an abortion for one of them, which is highly illegal in this severe, oppresive communist society.
There’s little need to go further into plot summary than that, really. This is a difficult film to watch, which isn’t at all to say that it’s bad; rather, it’s highly effective at depicting its unnerving society and the bleak plight of its characters. The film paints a stark, realistic picture of what it’s like to be powerless in an oppressive, dictatorial regime, where every human interaction involves suspicious give-and-take, and this leads to highly uncomfortable dramatic suspense throughout as the characters are forced to move through their day-to-day lives like undercover agents in their own country. Marinca in particular gives a brave and powerful performance, and there’s effective support from the rest of the cast. This one isn’t particularly enjoyable to watch, but it’s hard not to respect as powerful film-making, an unsettling glimpse of a world we should never have to live in.