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4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days 

A quiet but searing drama of life in 1980s Romania

Over the course of one fraught day in 1987, college student Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) helps her roommate Gabi (Laura Vasiliu) procure an illegal abortion. The focus, however, is not on Gabi or the morality of the procedure, but rather on Otilia and how the day's events test her relationships, resourcefulness and perhaps her future. Writer/director Cristian Mungiu (Occident) films 4 Months very deliberately, with long, still conversational takes that keep the film's undercurrent of tensions simmering. This is purposefully unsentimental vignette, and offers some tough, though never explicit viewing. The film's larger lack of emotion may be another aspect of Ceausescu's Romania that Mungiu intentionally highlights: the flat grayness of a totalitarian society (reflected, too, in the story's cheerless settings), a culture in which the intersection of the private and the public is problematic, and where daily life requires various forms of subterfuge. In Romanian, with subtitles. Starts Fri., March 15. Manor (AH) capsule review]

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