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A milieu shared by both Filipinos and Romanians

By Dennis Clemente

The 2007 Cannes' Palmes d'Or winner, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 days," is a Romanian movie tackling abortion with totalitarianism as subtext. This reminds us of another similar movie: the 1985 Filipino movie called "Hinugot sa Langit" ("Snatched from Heaven") by Ishmael Bernal, one of the greatest Filipino auteurs.

In his time, Bernal said his movie was about the country’s fight against societal hypocrisy. Being a Catholic country, abortion is seen as morally wrong, even though many young women choose this option for "unavoidable" reasons. In a similar vein, 4 Months’ Romanian director Christian Mingui said his movie was really about his country's struggle against a totalitarian government back in the eighties.

Both the Philippine and Romanian movies share an eerily familiar milieu---the era of misguidedness, the insidous black market trading, the generation gap between the elders and the young, poverty's corrupting grip. And why, in both, you can only count on your friends to help you in your sad plight.

If Romania can look back, Filipino filmmakers might want to do the same to give historical perspective to those most trying of times.