In 1980s Romania, the brutal Ceausescu dictatorship is still in power. Gabita turns to her friend Otila, for help in organizing an illegal abortion. A crime punishable by death. They enlist the services of the shady Mr. Bebe.
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Overrated film. The brunette annoyed me because she didn't have a brain and did everything wrong. If I'm going to be emotionally invested in a character, she has to at least care about her friend who is trying to help her.
Revisited after years; this may have been the first Romanian film I ever experienced. Having since slowly trudged through generations of RO cinema (perpetually, knees and elbows), this almost feels as if it were made to win gold a la Dardenne-Cannes shimmer sprinkle; polished poster child. Witness this film still, an aesthetic cinematic clinic. Meanwhile, Puiu's debut 6 years earlier is tangible for the tigers.
What's most surprising is Mungiu's use of thriller tropes to lift what is ostensibly a serious, harrowing drama into a masterfully nailbiting ride - the slow reveal of the villain of the piece is breathtaking, and there's even a wry twist on Chekhov's Gun. The cast is astonishing too - one can only wonder at what Mungiu's direction was during that long, excruciating dinner party scene.
Gripping Romanian New Wave film with affecting performances and set design. A subtext of profound social implication is subtly conveyed through French/Italian social realist innovations including deep focus, mobile hand camera operation, and on location sound.
A film of striking verisimilitude in exposing a controversial black market practice.
89/100 - Excellent. (4.5)
"Beyond the Hills" was my first Mungiu film, but this one is just as good and delivers, in a different way, that feeling of oppression and discomfort with the theme of the film. I loved Anamaria Marinca, thought she was terrific in the role. I also loved the grittiness and austerity of the film which contributed to a very 'real' portrait of the country and its people at that particular period.
One of the most harrowing and unpleasant films in memory, but utterly profound and purposeful in its motivation. As a campaign piece against the austerity of pro-life legislation, it is as polemical as it gets. This reads like a worst case scenario of the need to 'go underground' with a backyard abortion when pro-choice is outlawed. Sour as hell, important as it gets. Euro-cinema with a righteous sting.
Haunting. Disturbing. Beautiful. This movie did some strange and wonderful things to me. Pretty much left me speechless. The cinematography alone is some of the very best I've ever encountered, I really loved the long beautiful handheld masters. After one viewing I'm gonna go ahead and call this one of the greatest movies I've seen. A masterpiece.
It's a frustrating film, offering you no reward for enduring it. But it gets this simple, universally known message across brutally and skillfully, making sure we don't forget it. That message is that the world and people inside it are ugly. What I find most chilling about Mungiu's film is that it challenges the viewer to find any hope when it concludes. What a sick, ugly, brave piece of art it is...