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4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days ( ) is a Romanian film written and directed by Cristian Mungiu. It won the Palme d'Or and the FIPRESCI Award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

The film is set in Communist Romania in the final years of the Nicolae Ceauşescu era. It tells the story of two students, roommates in the university dormitory, who try to arrange an illegal abortion. After making its worldwide debut at Cannes, the film made its Romanian debut on June 1, 2007, at the Transilvania International Film Festival.


The film follows the story of Otilia Mihartescu (Anamaria Marinca) and Gabriela 'Găbiţa' Dragut (Laura Vasiliu), two university friends in an unnamed Romanian town. The film is set in 1987, one of the last years of the Ceauşescu regime. When Găbiţa becomes pregnant, the two girls arrange a meeting with Mr. Bebe (Vlad Ivanov) in a hotel, where he is to perform an illegal abortion (Communist Romania had a natalist policy against abortion).

At a college dorm Gabriela and Otilia go over the items they need for the following day, and as Gabriela nervously sits and waits in the room, Otilia barters and buys soap, cigarettes, etc. from school friends. Afterwards, Otilia takes a bus to visit her boyfriend Adi, from whom she borrows money. Adi asks Otilia to visit his family that night, as it is his mother's birthday, and to buy flowers on the way, to which Otilia initially declines, but she relents after Adi becomes visibly upset.

Otilia heads to a hotel where Gabriela has booked a room, only to be informed by an unfriendly receptionist that there is no reservation under Gabriela's last name. Otilia goes to another hotel, and after much begging and haggling is able to book a room at an expensive rate. Afterwards Otilia goes to a rendezvous point to meet with Mr. Bebe, although he had asked Gabriela that she meet him and no one else. Mr. Bebe grows angry upon hearing that Gabriela is not at the planned hotel.

Mr. Bebe discovers that Gabriela's claim that her pregnancy was in its third month is a lie; in fact, it has been at least four months. The two women were certain that they would pay no more than 3000 of the local currency for the abortion. However, it slowly becomes clear to the audience and the women that he expects both women to have sex with him. Otilia reluctantly has sex (and eventually Gabriela does as well) with Mr. Bebe so that he will not walk out on them. Mr. Bebe then performs the abortion by injecting a probe and water into Gabriela, and leaves Otilia instructions on how to dispose of the fetus when it comes out. Otilia is visibly exasperated by Gabriela's lies, yet continues to help her and care for her.

Otilia leaves Gabriela at the hotel to go to Adi's mother's birthday. She's still visibly disturbed but stays and has dinner with Adi's mother's friends, who are mostly doctors. They all talk about trivial things while Otilia and Adi remain silent. The phone rings in the background, but no one answers it. One of the guests then starts talking about lost values and respect to elders when Otilia accepts a cigarette offered to her in front of Adi's parents, which prompts Adi to bring the champagne in order to get the party over with. Adi and Otilia then go to his room where Otilia tells him about Gabriela's abortion, and they start talking about what would happen if it was Otilia that was pregnant since Adi seems to be against abortions. After fighting with Adi, Otilia calls Gabriela from Adi's house. Gabriela does not answer, so Otilia decides to go back to the hotel.

When Otilia enters the room Gabriela is lying on the bed, and she tells Otilia that the fetus has come out and is in the bathroom. Otilia then wraps the fetus with some towels and puts everything in a bag, while Gabriela asks her to bury the fetus. Otilia then goes outside and walks around for a while, finally climbing to the top of a random building, as Mr. Bebe had suggested, and dropping the bag in a trash chute.

Otilia then goes back to the hotel and finds Gabriela eating at the restaurant. She sits and tells Gabriela that they are never going to talk about the whole thing ever again.


The initial idea was inspired by Mungiu's project to do a film, Memories from the Golden Age, which would collect several stories taking place during the Communist times in Romania. Mungiu felt the need for a serious movie, focusing on a tragic story of life under that regime, to balance the intended comedic tone of the planned Memories from the Golden Age. He based the plot of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days on a real story he had heard and, according to him, "still affected me after more than 15 years".

After thinking about the story for a month, Mungiu put down the synopsis in 10 minutes then wrote the screenplay in another month. He revised the screenplay numerous times during productions, rewriting and taking out parts that didn't seem necessary (some changes were also suggested by discussions with Răzvan Rădulescu, who co-wrote Cristi Puiu's previous two features).

Most of the filming was done in Bucharestmarker, with some scenes filmed in a hotel in Ploieştimarker. The film was produced on budget of less than 600,000 (about $794,280 dollars).


The film received an enthusiastic response from critics, earning a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (based on 127 reviews), while also earning a 97% rating on Metacritic (based on 37 reviews). Jay Weissberg from Variety magazine opined that the film was "pitch perfect and brilliantly acted... a stunning achievement". He remarked that the film shares a number of characteristics with other productions of the New Romanian Cinema, namely: "long takes, controlled camera and an astonishing ear for natural dialogue."

Several sources view the film as indicative of a broader renaissance in Romanian cinema in the 2000s, particularly in light of other successful Romanian films, including Cristi Puiu's The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, which won the Prix un certain regard at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, Corneliu Porumboiu's 12:08 East of Bucharest, which won the Camera d'Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, and Cristian Nemescu's California Dreamin', which won the Prix un certain regard at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

Top ten lists for 2007

The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2007.

Top ten lists for 2008

Due to various release dates, the film also appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008.

Awards, nominations and accolades




  1. Romania rules at Cannes Film Festival, International Herald Tribune, 27 May 2007
  2. Three Twisty Delights, TIME, 18 May 2007
  3. Interview with Cristian Mungiu by Ana Maria Sandu, RE:PUBLIK 25, May 2007 (in Romanian)
  4. Top Cannes award for harrowing Romanian abortion film, SAWF News, 27 May 2007
  5. Rotten Tomatoes
  6. Metacritic
  7. Jay Weissberg, 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, Variety, 17 May 2007
  8. Romania shines at Cannes, SBS World News, 28 May 2007
  9. The little country that could: Romania shines at Cannes, SAWF News, 27 May 2005

See also

External links

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