To quote Gloria Feldt, “Media portrayals, real or fictional, don’t merely inform us — they form us.” In this series, I will be examining five films – classic, mainstream, independent, foreign, and pre-Roe – and five television shows – daytime soap, drama, pre-Roe, critically lauded, and teen-oriented – that address unexpected pregnancy, to examine how past portrayals can influence and reflect society’s view of abortion.
This is an intense movie. Not to mention terrifying and infuriating and impossible to turn off – a masterfully written, filmed, and acted chronicle of two young women’s attempt to obtain an illegal abortion in Romania, circa 1987. Otilia, a resourceful and unflappable college student, raises the money, secures the hotel room, and meets the abortionist who will terminate her roommate Gabita’s pregnancy. She’s the one making the arrangements because Gabita is on the edge of panic, essentially sleepwalking through the day until the abortionist comes to the hotel, at which point the movie takes an even darker turn. The dynamic between Otilia and Gabita, more than any other relationship in the film, is riveting and complicated, and a large part of what makes the movie so compelling. It’s no wonder that critics largely adored this 2007 release, which won that year’s Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. [Read more...]