4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

   ,
  7 p.m.
   Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Immediately after winning the 2007 Palme d’Or at Cannes, writer-director Cristian Mungiu’s breakthrough film drew comparisons to the work of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. And for good reason: Mungiu has learned much from the Belgian auteurs. Mungiu’s deceptively simple story unfolds in long takes that leave cinematographer Oleg Mutu’s masterful handheld camera unfettered—one minute trailing a character down a series of dark alleys, another patiently observing an excruciating dinner party. Mungiu’s success truly lies, though, in his humanism. 4 Months . . . demonstrates deep compassion for its characters, who have all the complexity of real people trapped in dire circumstances. Specifically, two young women navigate a corrupt, decaying Romanian town to obtain an abortion for one of them during the final days of the oppressive regime of Nicolae Ceauşescu. Their harrowing journey, breathlessly told in what feels like—but isn’t—real time, makes for essential cinema: intimate, haunting, and politically engaged.