4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a Romanian film, written, directed and produced by Cristian Mungiu. It was released in 2007 under the label of Mobra Films Production, the independent company established by Mungiu himself and the film’s director of photography, Oleg Mutu. The motion picture is considered to be the international breakthrough of the Romanian New Wave, winning various awards including the prestigious Palme d’Or and the FIPRESCI Award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. (Dawson 2009)
The story is set in an unnamed provincial city in Romania, where Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) and Găbiţa (Laura Vasiliu) share the same room in a student dormitory. They are University colleagues during the last years of communism. In 1966, a law banning abortion was imposed in Romania. Being 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days pregnant, Găbita finally settles for an illegal abortion. Otilia rents a room in a cheap hotel, and in the afternoon they are going to meet Mr. Bebe (Vlad Ivanov), a back-alley abortionist. (Porton 2009)
The transnationalism of the movie is represented by Cristian Mungiu’s approach to the controversial issue of abortion. The film crew utilizes various techniques and emotional angles to portray a frightful reality, as opposed to Hollywood’ treatment of the same issue. Jason Reitman’s Oscar winning motion picture, Juno (2007), disclosed a more familial and friendly overview. The way in which Mungiu sketched the theme of abortion is endorsed by the historical context of communism, or how the totalitarian dictatorship of Nicolae Ceauşescu had reached such an in-depth level of protrusion that it also affects the intimate life. It creates an everyday scale of historical opposition to totalitarianism enforced by the relationship between the two main characters, or the cinematographic techniques that portray a distressed and sober pre-1989 communist Romania. (Uricaru 2008) Andrew Higson’s model of national cinema can be used to define 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days’ transnationalism by outlining the concept of national cinema in relation to the Romanian cinema.
Andrew Higson’s model considers the implications that stem from the concept of ‘national’ by pondering the paradigms of both the site of consumption, and the site of production. Classifications such as economic, text, or consumption based terms aid in defining the concept of national cinema by specifying a certain coherence and unity on domestic premises, or by creating an impression of ‘otherness’ through comparison with other cinemas, such as Hollywood. Furthermore, he extrapolates the definition of national cinema against Hollywood by looking into national, political, economic and cultural identities and set of traditions. Ultimately, it creates criticism towards national cinemas supported by its reduction to terms of quality art, such as ‘a culturally worthy cinema […], rather than one that appeals to the desires and fantasies of the popular audiences.’ (Higson 2002, p. 53)