4 MONTHS 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS – Exclusive Video Interview with Writer/Director Christian Mungiu

     January 20, 2008

Opening on January 25th is the incredible movie “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” by writer/director Cristian Mungiu.

The movie actually won the 2007 Cannes Palme d’Or and the Fipresci Prize for Film of the Year, and it’s also been featured at the Tell Palme d’Or uride, Toronto and New York film festivals. It even has an amazing 94% on Rotton Tomatoes.

But, in something that can only be viewed as a conspiracy, for some reason it isn’t on the short list of films that can win the foreign Oscar. I don’t know the reason, I don’t know what happened, I just know that there are 8 or 9 films on the short list and this isn’t one of them. And that’s not only shocking, but incredibly stupid. I don’t know how 8 or 9 other films could be better than this movie, and I don’t know how the film that won the Palme d’Or at Cannes couldn’t be good enough. So while I always say the Academy Awards is a pretty fucked up place, this year it’s completely shattered the illusion that they have any sensibility and common sense. It now wouldn’t surprise me to see “Premonition” up for Best Film of the Year.

The fact is, “4 Months” deals with subject matter than most mainstream movies wouldn’t touch, and most filmmakers wouldn’t dare to try and talk about. And what’s the subject? Abortion.

Here’s the official synopsis:

During the final days of communism in Romania, college roommates Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) and Gabita (Laura Vasiliu) are busy preparing for a night away. But rather than planning for a holiday, they are making arrangements for Gabita’s illegal abortion and unwittingly find themselves burrowing deep down a rabbit hole of stark realities and ugly truths. Transpiring over the course of a single day, Mungiu’s film is an immersive masterwork of naturalism, by turns poignant, shocking and darkly comedic. The latest in a recent Romanian renaissance (THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU, 12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST), it features virtuosic camerawork by Oleg Mutu (LAZARESCU) and a riveting performance by Anamaria Marinca. This is breathless, bracing filmmaking, which critics worldwide have been heralding since its premiere at Cannes.

I promise you, this is a no holds bared realistic account of what life was like in Romania during the last days of communism. What also makes the film so great is the way the movie uses long takes to tell the story, following characters into difficult situations and the movie never steers clear of the hard truths. Even though it’s a fictionalized account of what life was like, the film almost feels like a documentary with the way everything is handled on screen. Seriously, it’s one of the best films I saw last year and a true work of art. Absolutely seek this movie out when it opens.

Don’t believe me? Here are some snippets from a few professional reviewers:

“There was no more intellectually thrilling or compelling piece of work at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.”

Harlan Jacobson, USA Today

”Harrowing and brilliantly acted, the movie presents a stark image of life under totalitarian rule without political grandstanding or sentimentality. At times it feels like a horror movie. Through meticulous formal control, Mr. Mungui generates almost unbearable suspense and also shows, in sometimes graphic detail, the consequences of abortion and also of banning it.”

–Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“Beautifully realistic, faultlessly made….underlined the emergence of Romanian cinema as a world force.”

– Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

So if I’ve peaked your interest, here’s an interview I got to do with writer/director Christian Mungiu. It’s broken up into two parts because I got almost 9 minutes with him. As always, I listed what we talked about above each part. Finally, if you missed the movie clips I previously posted you can watch them here.

Christian Mungiu – Part 1

  • He started as a journalist writing about movies, I ask how that shaped him as a filmmaker.
  • I ask what originally led him to tell this story
  • He uses very long takes and has a lot happen during the shots, I ask why he chose to do that.
  • We discuss his writing process.

Christian Mungiu – Part 2

  • What was the most challenging part of telling this story and bringing it to the screen?
  • I ask about the lack of music in the film. Did he have a producer telling him to make changes etc…
  • I ask how does it feel to win all the awards and what does he have coming up next

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