(aka '4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days' or '4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days')

Directed by Cristian Mungiu
Romania 2007

 

Mungiu’s film is set over one afternoon and evening in the late 1980s (although we have to guess the exact date). There’s no nostalgia on offer here – no wistful look over the shoulder at Romania’s past: this is a dark place – literally, when we hit the night-time streets – where ordinary people are forced to act and suffer as savages under the perverting influence of the law. Mungiu’s point is crystal clear: the past is best left behind but never forgotten. His story is intimate but everywhere in his film there are hints of a wider malaise, whether it’s the bread queue at the edge of his widescreen frame, the officious-verging-on-dictatorial attitude of a hotel receptionist or just the angry bark of a dog at night.

Perspective is a game that Mungiu likes to play (along with throwing a few intriguing non-sequiturs into the narrative), and off-stage drama is one of his sharpest tools: often we’re on the other side of the room, or the other side of the door, or even, during one of the film’s most tense episodes, the other side of the city from where the real action – Gabita’s abortion in a rented hotel room – is taking place. This has an engaging effect and provokes an intense study of what’s on screen and intense imagination about what’s not. It also allows Mungiu to ram home the horror of the abortion process by reserving his most intense images for when they’re most needed.

Mungiu’s pacy, violent drama evokes a sense of real-time and often the director allows his scenes to play out in a single take; both approaches recall 2006’s ‘The Death of Mr Lazarescu’, also from a young Romanian director and also to be considered one of a handful of exceptional films to put Romania slap-bang on the film map in recent years.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 17th, 2007 - Cannes Film Festival

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DVD Comparison:

Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL vs. Genius (IFC) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Mongrel Media - Region 1 - NTSC

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL LEFT
2) Genius (IFC) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE
3) Mongrel Media - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT
 
DVD Box Cover

Distribution Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL Genius (IFC) - Region 1 - NTSC Mongrel Media - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:48:24 (4% PAL Speedup) 1:52:00 1:52:04
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.2 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.75 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.43 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: 

AE

Bitrate:  Genius

Bitrate:  Mongrel Media

Audio Romanian (Dolby Digital 2.0), Romanian (Dolby Digital 3.1)   Romanian (Dolby Digital 2.0) Romanian (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles English, None English (CC), English, Spanish, None English (CC), English, French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Featurette: 'The Romanian Tour' (15:38)
• Interview with Cristian Mungiu (Romanian with Eng subs) - 4:3 - 25:21
• 2nd Interview with Cristian Mungiu (in English) - 4:3 - 24:01
• 
Interview with Anamaria Marinca - 4:3 - 15:51
• 
Interview with Oleg Mutu (Romanian with Eng subs) - 4:3 - 6:24

• Alternate/Deleted Scenes  - 3:19 + 6:37

DVD Release Date: May 26th, 200
8
Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 10

Release Information:
Studio: Genius/ IFC

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Featurette: 'The Romanian Tour' (15:38)
• Interview with Cristian Mungiu (Romanian with Eng subs) - 4:3 - 25:21
• Interview with Oleg Mutu (Romanian with Eng subs) - 4:3 - 6:24

DVD Release Date: October 14th, 200
8
Keep Case in a cardboard box
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Mongrel Media

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Featurette: 'The Romanian Tour' (15:38)
• Interview with Cristian Mungiu (Romanian with Eng subs) - 4:3 - 25:21
• Interview with Oleg Mutu (Romanian with Eng subs) - 4:3 - 6:24

DVD Release Date: June 17th, 200
8
Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

ADDITION: Genius (IFC) - October 08': This is just to confirm the October 14th (on Amazon) release of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days indeed looks to be the same transfer as the Mongrel Media release - still in 1.78. I see no difference at all in the image quality... - it is probably from the exact same source. It differs in that they have removed the French DUB (to leave 'none') and replaced the optional French subtitles with Spanish ones. The same supplements are present (same menus too). It still has the same very low bitrate and it not in the aspect ratio when the film won Cannes. We continue to support and strongly recommend the AE UK edition for those in a PAL country or who are not region-locked. 

***

ADDITION: Mongrel Media - Region 1 - NTSC - June 08': Let's look at this comedy of errors...

Firstly I was sent a DVD package from Mongrel Media in Canada - it had a DVD box stating it was Mungiu's Palme D'or winning film 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days. But inside that box was a DVD entitled "Muffins For Granny" - ?!?!?. Eventually the correct release arrived but I put it aside momentarily with plenty of other stuff to cover.

Then, a DVDBeaver ListServ member and contributor, Adam, showed a capture from the upcoming IFC (US) release - originally scheduled for July 15th, 2008 - but the ASIN has magically disappeared from Amazon.com (although people are currently renting it from NetFlix). His capture (see below) is in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, but the film was positively shown in the 2.35:1 ratio. Hmmmmm...

I looked it up on the web and DVDTalk reviewed it HERE. But they claim it is 2.35:1. "Presented in anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1, the DVD is outstanding picture quality ...." I suspected they are misinformed and didn't do their due-diligence by actually 'verifying' what they state (it has now been corrected).

Then I looked at the Mongrel Media Canadian edition, assuming it is from the same source as the IFC and yes, it makes the same grave error in presenting the film in the, opened up, 1.78 ratio.

I won't go into a diatribe about transferring films in their theatrical AR's - I think we are beyond that.

So, IFC, Mongrel Media and even DVDTalk... good grief. It seems few are taking their work very seriously here. At least IFC have cancelled their release although some got out (and are being rented) - even though they are being inaccurately reviewed. This is the Palme D'or winning film folks!!! Do you think you could get this right? <sigh>. I don't mean to be too critical but I am really tired of this ineptitude. I mean, even the IFC trailers (on their own website HERE!) are in 2.35:1!

The Mongrel Media (and invisible IFC edition) have the same 15 minute featurette entitled 'The Romanian Tour' , 25 minute interview with 40-year old writer/director Cristian Mungiu and short, 6 minute interview with DP Oleg Mutu (who also did The Death of Mr Lazarescu) found on the Artificial Eye. They both miss out on the 2nd interview with Mungiu, a 15 minute interview with Anamaria Marinca as well as the alternate ending and a deleted scene running 3:19 + 6:37 respectively.

Mongrel Media want $30 for their edition. I'm sure we don't need to say more than buy the Artificial Eye - the only legitimate edition to enjoy this masterpiece. 

Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE ARTIFICIAL EYE: Pretty dour stuff - both subtly realistic and memorable and impacting - this is an almost mesmerizing film experience - stark, powerful and visually compelling.

As one might expect Artificial Eye has done a thorough and competent job with the transfer to DVD. It looks, I assume, as accurate as one might hope for on SD-DVD. Detail is strong, colors slightly muted and there are no digital manipulations that I can deduce. Contrast is at the high end and the DVD faithfully represents the film's intent on the digital medium. There is no doubt in my mind that this DVD package will be far superior to the IFC (Region 1) release scheduled for July 14th HERE

Audio gives us a choice of Romanian 2.0 or 3.1 channel. It showed some of its neo-realistic intent (scattered at times) but all dialogue was clear enough to determine the context and tone of each scene. There are optional English subtitles (see sample below) that was a shade spaced around the, often slow, dialogue but none-the-less nothing appeared missing or précised.

There are some relevant supplements. First off a 15 minute featurette entitled 'The Romanian Tour' - this covers some of the political environment and impact of post Ceausescu's Romania with some grass roots input. We have two (different) 25 minute interviews with 40-year old writer/director Cristian Mungiu. the first is in Romanian with English subtitles and the second in English. He seems to have the 'cinematic gift' judging by the manner he approaches questions about his work. I'll be keen to see more of his films in the coming years. There is a 15 minute interview with the pleasant Anamaria Marinca where she discusses her performance roots, and then we have a final, short, 6 minute interview with DP Oleg Mutu (who also did The Death of Mr Lazarescu). This is in Romanian and he is interesting to listen to - fairly passionate and direct he knows what he wants to establish in his frame. Finally an alternate ending and a deleted scene running 3:19 + 6:37 respectively.

I knew AE would treat this Palme D'or winning film with the completeness that it deserves - a sublime transfer and a host of interesting, viable extra features. The film is an must-see and we strongly recommend this PAL DVD package. 

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus - NOTE menus on Mongrel Media /Genius are the same!

 

(Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Mongrel Media/Genius - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)


 


Subtitle Sample NOT exact frame!

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Genius (IFC) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE
3) Mongrel Media - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM
 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Genius (IFC) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE
3) Mongrel Media - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM
 

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Genius (IFC) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE
3) Mongrel Media - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM
 

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Genius (IFC) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE
3) Mongrel Media - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM
 

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Genius (IFC) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE
3) Mongrel Media - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM
 

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Genius (IFC) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE
3) Mongrel Media - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM
 

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Genius (IFC) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE
3) Mongrel Media - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM
 
 

 


Report Card:

 

Image:

AE

Sound:

AE

Extras: AE
Menu: AE

DVD Box Cover

Distribution Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL Genius (IFC) - Region 1 - NTSC Mongrel Media - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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