10 November 2007

4 months 3 weeks and 2 days

I hate Gabita. She's one of the most annoying characters I've ever encountered so far in world cinema. I'm talking about 4 months 3 weeks & 2 days, a Romanian film directed by Cristian Mungiu. Gabita is an innocent girl who got pregnant and decides to have an abortion. (Well, to say that she's innocent is wrong -- I hardly believe that women who get pregnant after consenting sex are innocent. Psychologically, I believe they try to "act" innocent because they think men like it. Personally, I think it's one of the willful guiles women have. This of course is related to what Thai people call "ab baew", something that I'll tackle later in this blog if I have time and energy.)

The trouble is ... Gabita is living in Communist Romania, where abortion, let alone extramarital sex and foreign cigarettes, can make you go to jail. She needs to ask her too-good-to-be-true friend Otilia to help out. Otilia needs to meet a surgeon, book a hotel room, have sex with the surgeon, and get rid of Gabita's foetus, while Gabita does nothing but spreading her legs in the hotel room waiting for the foetus to come out and recovering from pain. It's so unfair. I can't believe how irresponsible Gabita can be. I think Otilia is too good by consenting to do all this. Had I been Otilia, I wouldn't have hesitated to give her a good slap on her face to bring back her conscience. Of course, the film addresses the current problem Romania needs to face with the onslaught of capitalism, but for me the main point is a personal relationship between these two people, and how Gabita exploits their relationship for her own ends.

Otilia has her own problems too. Her boyfriend belongs to a different class, as his father is a doctor and their family lives in a comfortable urban apartment. By contrast, Otilia lives in a dorm and her family is by no means significant. If she becomes pregnant, she's definitely in an inferior position. That's why Gabita's problem puts strain on her relationship with her boyfriend, as it's not just gender, but class, that she's at a disadvantage.

The film attempts with great success to portray the reality of the whole thing. The whole event just happens in one day, sticking to the unity of time -- one day that I wouldn't surely want to experience.


celinejulie said...

Yes, I also hate Gabita very much.

Another female character which I hate as much as Gabita is May Welland (Winona Ryder) in THE AGE OF INNOCENCE. This character also looked very innocent, but she, too, deserved a good slap on the face. :-)

dechito said...

Thanks Celine for joining in. I do resent when women pretend to be innocent, I'd rather they be bad and honest, like Marquise de Merteuil, that we both remember well. :) In fact, she's the sincerest slut I've ever known.