Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
Romania, 1987, the brutal Ceausescu communist regime is in place; birth control is illegal and abortion is a crime punishable by death. Gabita (Laura Vasliu) is almost five months into an unwanted pregnancy and in meek desperation turns to her friend and roommate, Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) for help in organizing an illegal termination. Unfortunate circumstances force the two women to use an unwanted male abortionist, Bebe (Vlad Ivanov). The bleakness of the storyline expresses a dark socio-political critique in the twilight years of a repressive dictatorship.Written by
Romania, 1987. Two years before the fall of the Ceauşescu regime, a student helps her friend to obtain an illegal abortion. "4 luni, 3 Saptamani Si 2 Zile" details the events of a single day in which both girls will face circumstances of growing despair and horror. A question is asked and answered: What would you do for a friend?
I don't think I can praise "4 luni, 3 Saptamani Si 2 Zile" highly enough. I thought that "4 luni, 3 Saptamani Si 2 Zile" was a great film, perfectly executed.
There are some particular words I would use to describe this film. Compelling, downbeat, tense, shocking, harrowing and graphic. The country of Romania itself is a character in this movie. A cold and unfriendly place. Practically everything appearing to be worn down, old and shabby. The people are tired, irritated and impatient. I think it is a snapshot of a kind of hell on Earth.
There are stunning performances by Anamaria Marinca (some people might remember how good she was a couple of years ago in "Sex Traffic" on Channel 4) and Laura Vasiliu as the two girls. (Check out the scene of Anamaria Marinca at a family birthday party. A masterclass of internalised acting and suppressed emotion. She is doing practically nothing, but her mind is elsewhere. You can see it in her eyes.) Also, a couple of words of praise for Vlad Ivanov as Mr. Bebe, the abortionist. His performance as Mr. Bebe is a calculated study of bland and indifferent evil. Quietly spoken, balding, middle aged in his comfortable jumper and comfortable shoes. Manipulative, advantage taking, awful and chilling. Really chilling.
However you line up on the subject of abortion, pro-choice or pro-life, you should see this film. One of the best of the year.
What would you do for a friend?
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