April 25, 2008

4 luni, 3 săptămâni şi 2 zile (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) (2007)

It's amazing to me that the '80's-communist-Romania-abortion-movie' is somehow more insightful and much more to the point than anything coming out of the so-called indie-movie scene in today's America. I guess it just comes to show that no matter how progressive you think you are, there are some things that are still taboo. This is not to say that Mungiu's work is anything close to your boilerplate abortion-movie (if that exists). I found it had much more in common with things like The Lives of Others or The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, in that it dealt much more with people's behaviour and their ways of dealing with the system they live in. It was filmed with such urgency that despite the subdued nature of the events, you constantly get this frantic feeling that something is about to explode. When the movie reaches its eventual apex (The amazing dinner scene at Adi's parents) you get the impression that a seemingly normal (for Romanians) dinner scene is the most unbearable thing you've ever gone through (and come to think of it those dinners are like that anyway, but it's particularly unbearable when you've been practically raped "with consent" a short hour prior). The cinematography is brilliant, thanks in part to the decrepit nature of the communist-ravaged urban landscape (which is preserved in all its decaying glory to this day - due to its historic significance, no doubt). It's great to see such great things coming from Romania - and I'm not saying this just because I was born there, but I am thankful that I was or else I am sure I would have missed many of the small cultural-references which would have otherwise surely been lost on non-Romanian audiences. Overall great work.