Movie on Illegal Abortions in Romania Wins Another Film Festival Award

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 26, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Movie on Illegal Abortions in Romania Wins Another Film Festival Award Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 26,

Stockholm, Sweden ( — While the movie Bella captures the hearts of millions of American moviegoers with its respect for life, a movie which offers a look at illegal abortions took home another prize from an international film festival. The Romanian film "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," won top prize at the 18th Stockholm International Film Festival.

The movie examines the illegal abortions that were done in communist-era Romania when abortions were prohibited — a topic frequently used as propaganda by abortion advocates to argue for legal abortions.

Featuring Anamaria Marinca, it focuses on the "horrors" a student endures to help her friend have an abortion. It’s named after the age of the baby killed in the illegal abortion.

The movie took home the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival in May when pro-abortion activist Jane Fonda handed director Cristian Mungiu the award.

According to an AFP report, the Stockholm officials selecting the best movie said the film "expresses the impact of societal repression on its characters with honesty and devastating humanity."

Marinca, who plays a character who helps her friend obtain an illegal abortion, won the festival’s Best Actress award.

"We forget we are watching a ‘performance’ and instead experience, moment by devastating moment, the brutal events of this day in the life of Otilia," the Stockholm officials said about the events in the film.

After the Cannes win, Mungiu said getting the top prize, the Palme d’Or, is "like a fairy tale."

"It looks a little bit to me like (a) fairytale," Mungui said, adding that the win showed "you don’t necessarily need big budgets and big stars to make stories."

The director spent very little on the low-budget film and almost didn’t have enough money to make it.

In an apparent attempt to make the movie less polemic Mungiu does include a shocking image of the aborted baby and a graphic description from the abortion practitioner of the abortion procedure involved.

One review of the movie said it also focused on the abortion practitioner’s "chilling exploitation of the women’s dilemma."

"Because of the pressure of the regime, women and families were so much concerned about not being caught for making an illegal abortion that they didn’t give one minute of thought about the moral issue," Mungiu told reporters about his film.

"It was either you or them getting you for what you did."

He said he put the image of the dead baby after the abortion on the screen to making a point — "people should be aware of the consequences of their decisions."

The award comes two years after pro-abortion film "Vera Drake" failed to win any awards at the film festival. It later took home awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the European Film Awards and was a contender for a Golden Globe.

Bella won awards as well, including the top honor at the Toronto Film Festival and the directors and producers hope it will win further awards after its run in theaters is complete.