Saturday, June 14, 2008

4 Days, 3 Months and 2 Days (4 luni, 3 saptamini si 2 zile)

So what is this one about?
Netflix says In the last days of communism in Romania, Gabita (Laura Vasiliu), a young college student, wants to end her unplanned pregnancy. With the help of her best friend, fellow student Otilia (Anamaria Marinca), she seeks an abortion, illegal under the oppressive Ceaucescu regime. Director Cristian Mungiu's searing portrait of life under dictatorship received a slew of film festival awards as well as a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film from the Golden Globes which is entirely accurate.

And how much did I pay to watch?
This one was a netflix rental. (Only at the end of the month could I say how much this one dvd actually cost....the more dvds you watch the less it costs per disc. The cheapest I've ever gotten it down to was 89 cents a disc.)

And what did I think?
I saw this movie Children Underground when I first got Netflix in 2005. Children Underground is also a Romanian film, about the results of Ceaucescu's "Lets have lots of kids!!" policy. The result was parents in the mid and late 1980s having lots of kids, who they didn't actually want, for the tax or social benefits--bigger house, bigger check, etc. These children essentially became orphans because their parents didn't actually care about them. This group of children that the documentary, um, documents live in the Bucharest subway system. It was absolutely the most eye-opening film I'd ever seen about the true tragedy of some of those Soviet/Warsaw Pact policies. (unrelated, but very interesting, in the Soviet Union the policy was abortions for all...the idea was that more children would distract the parents from being good Soviet citizens. I remember reading an article in undergrad that said the average woman of child-bearing age would have had 7 abortions over the course of her lifetime.)

Right, so Children Underground was amazing. Beyond amazing. Impactful and sad and illuminating. Just crushingly sad. Really, go watch it. But, I rented 4 days thinking that it would be the same sort of film. I was very disappointed that it wasn't.

The film itself was quite an accomplishment. It wasn't the story that made it that way, though. The cinematography was stunning. There were parts that looked like, and were reminiscent of one of those tracking shots where the camera follows the actor (actually they used that in Thirteen for all but the opening and ending shots). The use of scenery built up a tension that weaves though the film AND made it REALLY feel like communist Romania.

The actress Anamaria Marinca was quite talented and she was absolutely the star of the film.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Perhaps I give a little bit more wiggle room to Eastern European films than American or British ones. But lets be serious, they do deserve a bit more credit! Their film industry was a million times more repressed than American or British ones and yet, they put out some amazing films. Granted, they put out 2 amazing films and the Brits put out 25 ones, but, um...thats ok, right?

So, for a rating, I think I'd end up somewhere around a 7 or 8. Lets say 7.5. It was no Children Underground (which would have received a 10) but many people wouldn't even see Children but they WOULD see 4 Days! Opening up audiences to Romanian cinema is important, and people who don't know it very well, I think, would think that 4 days was quite incredible. So...there ya go.

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