4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (4 luni, 3 saptamāni si 2 zile) (2007)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 28-Apr-2009

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 88:24
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Cristian Mungiu
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Anamaria Marinca
Laura Vasiliu
Vlad Ivanov
Alexandru Potocean
Ion Sapdaru
Teodor Corban
Tania Popa
Cerasela Iosifescu
Doru Ana
Eugenia Bosānceanu
Marioara Sterian
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame Romanian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days ( 4 luni, 3 saptamāni si 2 zile ) tells the grim tale of a young Romanian university student seeking an abortion, very much illegal, in the dying light of the reign of Nicholai Ceasescu. It won the Palme D'Or and FIPRESCI Award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival as well as a host of other international awards.

Gabriela (Laura Vasiliu) is a scatty young woman with a growing problem. In state run Romania in 1987 termination of pregnancy was punishable by lengthy imprisonment for abotionist, helper and mother and she naturally chooses the backyard route. Lucky for her that she has the level headed dorm mate Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) as a friend and helper. It is left to Otilia to buy the black market supplies needed for the recuperation period, check into the hotel for the likely three days and meet up with the abortionist Mr Bebe (Vlad Ivanov).

4 Months is a film that should be watched with as little foreknowledge as possible. Needless to say nothing goes as planned but it is in the careful deconstruction of the events that the film really shines. Director Christian Mungio uses long slow takes to capture his subjects in the frame. Rather than cool the pace the lengthy uncut scenes actually ramp up the tension, sometimes unbearably so, as we wait with dreaded anticipation the next event. It is a tribute to director and writer Mungio that he avoids just about all the cliches of similar films. This is not a film which takes a stance on abortion but rather shows the desperate steps to which young girls in the regime have to go to rid themselves of unwanted pregnancies.

Central to the film is the performance of Anamaria Marinca. She carries the emotional weight of the film and the absence of major acting awards may be seen an aberration. Some may remember her from her central role in the TV miniseries Sex Traffic. She is pitch perfect as the dedicated friend as much trapped, if not more so, than the clueless Gabriela. Of all her harrowing scenes a standout is a dinner party scene that Otilia has been badgered into attending by her unhappy boyfriend. As she stresses over her friend in the hotel and deals with the comments of the elders at the table about the poor qualities of "young people today" Anamaria displays a veritable feast of emotions as subtle undercurrents. It is a scene that should be taught in film schools. So too a long journey into the night, with periods of blackness, sums up the dark shroud that surrounds her and further ramps up the dread as Otilia ventures into a world where bottles smash, cats cry and drunks lurch menacingly.

4 Months is not for everyone. The tone is relentlessly downbeat and the cinematography perfectly captures the grim Communist state in all its decaying glory. But for those who appreciate hard hitting, exceptionally well-made cinema it is a must purchase.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

  4 Months comes to DVD in a 1.78:1 transfer which is 16x9 enhanced.

The cinematography, as said above,mercilessly captures 1987 Romania. Everything is crumbling and the colour scheme on offer is a series of washed out primaries. That said , nothing could suit the film better.

The quality of the transfer is very good and there are no defects with the print. There is a consistent but minor level of film grain. I did notice the briefest of MPEG compression at 70.17 but nothing of any concern.

Flesh tones are accurate in a pale, gaunt way and the muted colours are stable. The blacks are suitably deep and murky and the shadows are true.

And now the bad part... 4 Months has been released in other Regions in one of two aspect ratios. The standard widescreen as seen here and the original aspect ratio of the film - 2.35:1. Site policy dictates that we remove one star for the video rating of the transfer.

The question of how greatly we should be concerned about the open matte transfer is another question. Not having seen the original film at the cinema it is difficult to judge the difference. Screen grabs I have seen do not show a great deal of difference but this is is difficult to justify on mere moments. The change in the aspect ratio may greatly distort the directors vision.

One scene that was interesting to examine in this regard was the dinner party scene. Otilia is in the middle of the frame and people keep talking to and across her. At certain points the diner to her left is out of shot but I cannot say whether this was intentional. To me it heightened the sense that she was being buffeted by outside forces butI can't say whether the director intended this effect.

The subtitles are burned into the print. They are pefectly readable and correct in grammar and spelling.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    4 Months is presented with a Dolby Digital 2.0 track running at 224Kb/s

It would have been nice to have a 5.1 track to convey some of the ambient sounds. Again, I cannot say how effective the track was in the cinema. As it is the track is up-front and immediate.

There is no music in the body of the film. It is presented like a slice of real life with the only music coming from external sources.

The actors appear to be in audio sync. There are no technical problems with the sound.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Unfortunately, DanielB already used the phrase :"The extras were stolen by gypsies" in his review of Brideshead Revisited. A pity as it would have been nice (and maybe more apt!) in this review.

Leastways, there aren't any extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   This DVD has been released in Region 1 and 2. According to a reliable source (DVD Beaver) the Region 2 DVD is in the correct aspect ratio whereas the Region 1 is incorrect. However the Region 1 has a greater sprinkle of extras. These are the Region 1 extras: