European Year for Innovation and Creativity

“4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days”: Reflections



For sure, one of the most famous Rumanian movies is “4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days” (2007), written and directed by Cristian Mungiu. It won the Palme d’Or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and another important internacional prizes.

The film is set in Communist Romania in the final years of the Nicolae Ceauşescu era. It tells the story of two students, roommates in the university dormitory, who try to arrange an illegal abortion.

In 1957, the procedure was officially legalized in Romania, following which 80% of pregnancies ended in abortion, mainly due to the lack of effective contraception. In 1966 abortion was criminalized (except in exceptional cases) again, by Decree 770 under the rule of Nicolae Ceauşescu. The natalist policy was completed with mandatory gynecological revisions and penalizations for single women over 25 and married couples without children. The sudden effect of this policy was a transition from a birth rate of 14.3‰ in 1966 to 27.4‰ in 1967. Between 1972 and 1985, further degrees altered the minimum age for legal abortion. The children born in this period, especially between 1966 and 1972, are nicknamed the decreţei (singular decreţel). They had to put up with crowded public services as the state was not ready for the sudden increase. The word decreţei has a negative nuance for the perceived mental and physical damage due to the risky pregnancies and failed illegal abortions. This policy was reversed in 1989, after the Romanian Revolution, and, since that time, abortion has been legal in Romania.

Today the abortion is legal during the first fourteen weeks of the pregnancy. Abortions during the stages more evenings of pregnancy only are legal when the life of the woman is in danger.


Though the central topic of the movie is the abortion, the history is a subtle portrait of the epoch of the communist dictator in the country. The spectator can move to this period of the history of Romania, feeling the atmosphere that was breathed in the street. After watching the film, I do some reflections about the changes that have been produced in this country in the last 20 years: what things have they changed and which not? How have romanian women advanced? Has it changed the mentality of the romanians?

In Romania, according to the information that I find, the domestic violence continues being a problem, and many women meet relegated to being in house and taking care of the children (not only in Romania, also in many countries of Europe). According to International Amnesty, countries like Slovenia, Finland, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Romania don’t register information about violence of genre, neither in the police stations, nor in the courts.

Already in the communist period the women could study (this was not happening for example in the spanish dictatorship) but it did not mean a real equality of opportunities.

About the reivindicación for the women's rights, traditionally it has not a great acceptance in the East Europe, after a long epoch of intolerance in communist regime. At the present this situation is translated in a low political participation of the Rumanian women in their country. In Romania there are approximately sixty organizations that fight for the equality of sexes.