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Oppression and Abortion in Mungiu's '4 Months'

Cristian Mungiu's film, <em>4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days</em> won the Palme d'Or prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
Frederick Brown/Getty Images
Cristian Mungiu's film, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days won the Palme d'Or prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

In 1966, Romanian dictator Nicolai Ceausescu sought to boost his nation's population by criminalizing abortion, declaring, "The fetus is the property of the entire society... anyone who avoids having children is a deserter who abandons the laws of national continuity."

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, a new film by director Cristian Mungiu, explores the ramifications of Ceausescu's ban two decades later; it's 1987 and two college women negotiate Bucharest's gloomy, paranoid black market in an effort to secure an abortion.

New York Times critic Manohla Dargis calls the film, which won the top prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, "ferocious, unsentimental, often brilliantly directed."

We'll talk to Mungiu about his experiences growing up under a totalitarian regime and his inspiration for 4 Months.

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