Country: Romania
Director: Cristian Mungiu
Stars: Adi Carauleanu, Luminita Gheorghiu, Madalina Ghitescu, Vlad Ivanoc, Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu

Film critic J. Hoberman writes about ordeal cinema, movies with situations so painstakingly rendered that they become experiences inflicted on the viewer. They take you under and hold you there, where you can't breathe, where you can't do anything but watch. Winner of the Palme d'Or in 2007, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days is an ordeal.

Set in Romania in 1987, this is the movie: Găbiţa (Laura Vasiliu), a university student is pregnant. Her roommate Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) will help her get an illegal abortion from Mr. Bebe (Vlad Ivanov), as the procedure was banned under the communist regime. They meet him in a hotel room. The payment is discussed, becomes complicated. The procedure occurs. Then, Găbiţa needs Otilia's help after the procedure.

That's it. That's the paraphrasable content, but as with the best movies, the formal decisions turn the experience into something a summary can't possibly convey. —RS