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Film / 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

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4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a 2007 film from Romania directed by Christian Mungiu.

It is set in 1987, shortly before the fall of Communism (which was nastiest in Romania, as dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu and his wife Elena were stood up against a wall and shot). Otilia and Gabita are two young college students who live in a dormitory. As the film opens, Otilia and Gabita are getting ready to take a trip, hurriedly and with some urgency, as Otilia scrambles around to gather items and borrow money from her boyfriend Adi.

Eventually it's revealed that they are not really taking a trip. Gabita is pregnant, and Otilia is arranging for her to get a back-alley abortion, abortion being illegal in Romania. After some struggle Otilia finally manages to secure a hotel room, and she meets the abortionist, a brusque, intimidating fellow named Mr. Bebe. Things do not go well.

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  • Aside Glance: The last shot has Gabita and Otilia at a hotel dining table inside a glass window. The sound of a car turning outside the window causes Otilia to look out—right into the camera, which is staged outside.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Mr. Bebe, the abortionist that Gabita hired. While unlike some back-alley doctors he's competent enough to do the procedure correctly, he is also an awful monstrous pig who extorts sex from the both of them before he operates.
  • Commie Land: A portrait of a grim, sad Romania right before the fall, a land of poverty and oppression and subjugation of women. To reinforce this atmosphere of despair, the color scheme of the film is a series of dull browns and grays, and the setting is in winter, when there are no leaves on the trees.
  • Fan Disservice: Otilia naked from the waist down—after submitting to gross and demeaning sex with Bebe to get him to perform the abortion. Then the same from Gabita, as she is laying on the bed waiting for Bebe to insert the "probe" which will trigger a miscarriage.
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  • Faux Affably Evil: Bebe, who after the procedure is done offers to come back and check on Gabita and wishes her a cheerful "Good luck!"—this after he extorted sex from the both of them as the price of the procedure.
  • Gorn: A lingering shot of the miscarried fetus lying on a towel on the floor of the bathroom.
  • Jerkass: Adi, Otilia's boyfriend, who is pushy and demanding about her coming to the party, who offers absolutely no support as his family and friends lecture and embarrass her during the party, and who gets judgmental instead of offering emotional comfort after finding out what Otilia was doing.
  • Leave the Camera Running: There are many long, static shots where the camera does not move. The first scene of Otilia and Gabita packing runs for over three minutes without a cut or a camera movement. The most notable scene is a 7 1/2 minute long still shot of the dinner party, where an extremely uncomfortable Otilia sits while the guests mock her working class background and upbraid her for smoking.
  • The Load: Gabita is not tremendously helpful in arranging her own abortion. She gets an abortionist on a secondhand recommendation, which leads to the disastrous choice of Mr. Bebe. She cheaps out on the money, which also leads to the choice of Mr. Bebe rather than a female abortionist. She bungles the hotel reservation, and she lies about how far along she is (which is important, as it raises the risk and the price). At the end, while Otilia is going on an unpleasant trip to dispose of the fetus, Gabita is relaxing in the hotel restaurant.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The bitchy hotel clerk who takes obvious pleasure in denying Otilia the hotel room that Gabita reserved.
  • The Oner: When the film is not using a static Leave the Camera Running shot it is using a Oner tracking shot, including one scene early in the film where the camera flits around in an uninterrupted tracking shot through the dorm hallway, the shower room, and three different dorm rooms as Otilia gets stuff together in preparation to leave.
  • Sex for Services: A particularly ugly and disturbing instance of this trope. Mr. Bebe finds out that 1) they don't have the 3000 Lei promised for the procedure, as they had to spend some on the hotel room, and 2) Gabita is actually over four months along when she said only two, which increases the risk and the price. Since he is a sociopathic dirtbag, he demands sex from both Otilia and Gabita before he performs the procedure. They comply.

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