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4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 days (4 luni, 3 saptamâni si 2 zile, 2007)
How this didn't even get a nomination for best foreign film last year is beyond me. It is certainly miles better than the eventual winner (Austria's Die Fälscher) and the other nominee from '07 I've seen (Mongol), so I'm not sure what's going on with that.

Anyway, this needs to be seen by everyone. Now. It's the best film I've seen in a very long time, and easily the best out of the Romanian new wave, which says a hell of a lot considering every film I've seen come out of Romania in the past couple years has been something very good, and very unique. There's clearly influences here from the Italian neo-realism, and the French new wave, but adding a problem that has such relevance in Romania as well as the eastern, post-soviet block makes it uniquely Romanian in its substance.

The direction by Cristian Mungiu (Occident), in leading the viewer through a hellish situation experienced by Anamaria Marinca's character as she arranges for her friend to have an illegal abortion is very good, and the photography by Oleg Mutu (who also shot The Death of Mr. Lazarescu) is perfect in bringing out the feeling and atmosphere of what 1989 Romania must have been like.

Apparently over 500,000 women died having illegal abortions in communist run Romania, so I can only imagine the effect this film had there.
The Miike thread has 52 replies and this has none. How utterly sad.
Really wanted to see this when it was in theaters, but it never came close enough. Thank you for reminding me to check it out.
Big bump. I just saw it this weekend.

I can't say I really "enjoyed it" but it was definitely powerful. My favorite scene was the long extended shot of her boyfriend's family eating dinner after she's just gone through the whole traumatic experience. It's handled beautifully and after that you really want to make sure that no matter what happens, she's safe. Which sets up the finale beautifully. I was so close to yelling at the screen at certain points. "Just throw it away, throw it down, get rid of it." Which is pretty nuts, considering the "bomb" that she's carrying. Great suspense; suspense that challenges you to think about your own principles and beliefs.

Probably one of the most powerful films of this past decade, for sure.
I've been curious about this one, I've seen the DVD frequently but the topic is a little offputting. Sometimes I can muster the energy to get through a really depressing film and sometimes it's just not something I am up for. I'm waiting for my mood and my free time to find a confluence that allows me to watch this one

Ever since I saw this movie, there's one thing that really stuck with me. I love when movies make you think about aspects of a film that are usually taken for granted.  This movie does something that seems so simple, yet is incredibly effective.

What it does is establish the tangibility of the objects onscreen.  Sure, that sounds like something that would have practical benefits to any movie, but how many of them actually take the time to do it?  Maybe here or there, in a scene where setting up a particular object's physicality is important (like a gun in a suspense film), but I can't recall another movie where I thought that it was one of the filmmaker's primary goals.  It's one thing to establish the physical space the characters inhabit, or have very meticulous compositions, but to actually give a lamp, a table, or a pack of cigarettes weight and presence all its own is really something.

The movie gets us thinking about this very cannily; by opening with the girls packing, taking stock of things, and then by having Otilia look to barter for other things they need.  Not only does it help put us inside the world, it gets us thinking about each individual thing.  How every one has a value, and ultimately can be considered a commodity.

One scene in particular really illustrates how subtle and crafty the film is.  As Gabita is laying in bed, and Otilia is sitting across from her, we are looking at the two girls from the perspective of the wall behind the bed.  We see the blank television screen, the ugly artificial flowers, the girls, a table, etc... and the motel room itself calls to mind one of those really ugly paintings that are on motel walls.  Then we realize we're thinking this not just because of the composition of the shot, not just because of the still life quality imparted to each object, but also because we're looking at it from the point of view of where one of those paintings would be hanging.  Then, a bit later, after Otilia speaks, and the weight of what she had to endure, in part because of Gabita's lack of planning and over-reliance on Otilia, but also just because that's the way the world works, sinks in, there is an offhanded comment "What a weird painting that is", and we see there is a painting right where we had been looking from.

How many movies would have done that the opposite way?  Had Otilia comment on the painting, and then show us the composed shot from its point of view?  Thus making sure nobody misses the parallel.  But here the director lets us come to it on our own, and so the line about the painting becomes a sly and ironic recognition, rather than a setup for something obvious and didactic.

Anyway, I am kinda losing my train of thought, but yeah, I haven't really stopped thinking about how good this movie is since I saw it last fall.


Two hours and fifteen minutes into the beguiling Romanian film Beyond The Hills there's a moment unlike anything, really, I've seen in the roughly nine hundred thousand movies I've sat through in my life. It caused me to shout “awesome” right back at the screen, as though I were back watching Thor beat a Chitauri Warrior with Mjolnir.

Available on VOD March 14th.  So fucking excited.

AJust noticed it's opening tomorrow at the art house up the street. I thought "4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days" was brilliant. I'll have to check out "Beyond the Hills" this weekend. Thanks for the heads up, Bailey!

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