4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days (Alliance, 2007) D: Cristian Mungiu, w/ Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu. Rating: NNNN; DVD package: NNNN
In 1987 Romania, a pregnant student and her friend set out to get an illegal abortion. It’s a simple story plainly told with long takes and hand-held camera, and without music or contrivances, yet there’s loads of suspense and multi-layered character drama.
Anamaria Marinca (Otilia, the friend), Laura Vasiliu (pregnant Gabriela) and Vlad Ivanov (the abortionist) are all thoroughly convincing and, of a piece with the film’s style, seem both natural and powerfully present.
In the extras, writer-director Cristian Mungiu offers detailed insights into his process, from his philosophy of storytelling, through his approach to throwaway details to his choice of a long-take style and the framing of a key dinner scene. Cinematographer Oleg Mutu does much the same from a visual perspective, paying particular attention to the long, single-shot night walk. For anyone interested in low-budget filmmaking, these are must-see interviews.
EXTRAS Director interview, cinematographer interview, tour of Romanian cinemas doc. Widescreen. Romanian, French audio. English, French subtitles.