Journal of European Studies

A psychoanalytical approach to Cristian Mungiu’s /4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days/

by Adriana Cordali Gradea (2018)

Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (4, 3, 2 for short) is a classic of the new wave in Romanian cinema. Centred on the paternalistic and patriarchal relationship between political power and women, this analysis reveals the psychological effects of traumatic situations and how unconscious (hidden, often irrational) drives determine human behaviour in subjects living under totalitarianism. This article provides a reading of the film through such concepts as the (male) gaze, the law in relation to the figure of the father and the Lacanian orders of the symbolic and the real, the split personality of the abused woman as both subject and object, and life/death in stincts in the face of totalitarian in trusion in to the reproductive rights of women. This kind of analysis sheds new light on the nuances of the film and the significance of the silence in it by exposing the symbolic reality of communist totalitarianism as opposed to a seemingly authentic Lacanian real that is hidden in the silence and in the materiality of the female body.

/4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days/, abortion, gaze, Jacques Lacan, male gaze, Cristian Mungiu, the real, symbolic order, totalitarianism.

Adriana Cordali Gradea is a PhD candidate in English Studies at Illinois State University, specializing in visual rhetoric and cultural theory. She has recently served as the Chair of the Romanian Forum of the Modern Language Association (2016–17). Her 2014 Rhetoric Review article ‘Embroidered feminist rhetoric in Andrea Dezső’s Lessons from My Mother’ received the 2015 Florence Howe Award in Anglophone Languages and Literatures of the Women’s Caucus for the MLA. She has published both critical works and prose, and her research and teaching in terests in clude public discourse, political rhetoric, visual rhetoric, film studies, feminism, cultural and critical theory, and (post-)communist, (post-)totalitarian and (post-)colonial rhetorical studies.
(Corresponding Author: Adriana Cordali Gradea, Illinois State University, Department of English, Adlai E. Stevenson Bldg. 409, Campus Box 4240, Normal, IL 61790-4240, USA. Email:


Gradea, Adriana Cordali
A psychoanalytical approach to Cristian Mungiu’s /4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days/.
In: Journal of European Studies 48,3-4 (Nov 2018), pp.  295-307