4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Romania 2007, 113 min, dir: Cristian Mungiu, cast: Anamaria Marinca, Vlad Ivanov, Laura Vasiliu)
1980′s Romania is still under the veil of the Communist regime. A college student sets out to help roommate have an illegal abortion. The state does not allow legal abortions so there is no alternative to renting a hotel room and hiring an abortionist. Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) is charged with the responsibility of being best friend while Gabita will undergo the dangerous procedure. Otilia is a natural survivor and understands the indifference of the word. Gabita assumes there will always be someone to fight her battles.
The story exposes the end of the stagnant culture of late 80′s Romania where a political aristocracy is balanced against a vindictive petty bureaucracy. They deserve each other. In a few years all of this will be swept away. But for this time, this moment where a young college student needs and abortion: there is no court of values to hear her.
This is not Gabita’s story, even though it is her pregnancy. It is about Otilia. It is her awakening, just like the country will awake a few years later. In the space of the hours leading up to and after the abortion she will understand there is no place for her. Not with her roommate, nor her fiancee, nor in the system that presses down her every effort to help a friend. In the end, we know she will walk away from everyone she has known.
This is also a film that you would have thought the right-to-lifers would have embraced as their own. No one who sees it can argue for abortion, especially with the site of the fetus sitting on the bathroom floor. Strange that it was not raised on the shoulders of these people, since there has never been, to my knowledge, any statement as powerful for their cause then this one.