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Mr. Matthew S.


Professor Janna Van Grunsven

PHIL 1000

10 May 2015

A Film Essay on 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days which analyses the Subjection and Individual
Freedom of Gabita and Otilia


In his philosophical text The Subjection of Women, John Stuart Mill argues that the
morality of justice must not only include equality among the sexes, but also sympathy and family
structure. When applying this philosophical thought to the film, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2
Days, we can see that Gabita and Otilia live in a region of the world where morality rest more
along the lines of an obligation to submit to power rather than a right (Mill, 46). There, some
women may be influenced to subject themselves to superior males who are evil in character
because of inequality among the sexes which is common in places like Romania. The subjection
of Gabita and Otilia led to an unjust life. Mainly, because of the fact that Mr. Bebe persuaded
Gabita to undergo an illegal black-market abortion. Even though the illegal medical procedure
involved serious risksrisks that related to health and lawGabita still decided to subject
herself to Mr. Bebe. With that in mind, this paper seeks to not only analyze the subjection of
women within Romania, but also answer the following question: does film educate people about
philosophical theories more than text?


This argument contradicts the fact that Gabitas subjection was obligated by supporting

the thought that Gabita exercised her right to subject to Mr. Bebe. In fact, the subjection of

Gabita may have been influenced by Otilia when she began to explain that Mr. Bebe was a well-

known medical practician who specialized in abortions. Mr. Bebe wasnt just a superior when

compared to Gabita, but may have also been perceived as an educated person who attained
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professional knowledge that related to the field of medical practice. Mr. Bebe began to explain to

Gabita that subjecting to the abortion would be alright because he would be the one who would

be at risk with the law. After Gabita prepared for the illegal procedure, Mr. Bebe began probing

Gabita for private information that related to the duration of time in-between periods. Gabita

then provided the information to Mr. Bebe, as he then advised young Gabita to prepare for the

medical procedure.

The Subjection of Gabita

The subjection of Gabita was influenced by the inequality of sexes and great risks to

Gabita and Otilia which may have endangered their freedom, as well as Gabitas health. Gabita

explained that she didnt have the desire to proceed with an illegal medical procedurewhich,

therefore, didnt create the metaphorical motion to subject to the superior figure who was going

to conduct an illegal abortion to her body. Gabitas lack of desire to have the illegal abortion

caused a nervous emotion during her subjection.

Mr. Bebe complained when Gabita and Otilia couldnt provide enough money to pay for

the abortion. In fact, Mr. Bebe began expressing anger which increased his superior role. Mr.

Bebe explained to Gabita and Otilla that they were the ones seeking the illegal abortion. Gabita

then showed more intense characteristics of inferiorness, and even subjected herself further.

Gabitas subjection was natural to her inferior character. In fact, the more Gabita subjected, the

more Mr. Bebe would make her feel like an inferiormainly, by explaining greater risks with

the law which persuaded Gabita and Otilla to think that they were the ones to blame for the

illegal activity. Thereafter, Gabita stayed in the room alone to re-cooperate from the illegal


The Subjection of Otilia

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Adi showed promise of treating Otilia like an equal because of the fact that he was more

good in character when compared to the evil character of Mr. Bebe. This thought was supported

by fact that Adi explained to Otilia that his solution would have been marriage. Otilia subjected

herself more to Gabita than she did to Adi, but probably because it became her obligation. To

explain, Otilia made progress toward better equality when she traveled back to Gabitas hotel

room and disposed of a dead childs corpseOtilias crime was her involvement with the murder

of an unborn child. Here, the vice of Ceausesais Romanian dictorial state (Grunsven) was

exampled when analyzing Otilias involvement with the murder and disposal of an unborn child.

After having lunch at a public caf, Gabita asked Otilia what she did with the dead corpse. For

this reason, Otilia probably lived with a lot of nervous emotions later her life when reflecting

back to being associated with Mr. Bebe, and recollecting the probing of Gabitas private



Even though the risks that related to illegal medical practice would have made Gabita Mr.

Bebes obligation, Gabita expressed emotions that supported the idea that she felt obligated to

subject to the illegal abortion. To support this claim, Gabita expressed a lack of desire for the

illegal abortion which prevented her metaphorical motion of subjection to Mr. Bebes illegal

medical practice. After Otilia and Mr. Bebe used money, risks, and superiorness to help

persuade Gabita to subject, Gabita finally subjected to the illegal medical practice of Mr. Bebe.

The illegal black-market scheme posed great threats to their freedom, health, and even supported

an inequality of sexes within the Romanian region. Even though this was the case, Gabita was

able to preserve her future by restricting herself from the right to give birth to her own child. In

other words, she became obligated to fulfill an illegal covenant with Mr. Bebe.
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Even though part of Gabitas subjection was influenced by Otilia, in a place like

Romania, sometimes a woman may need to subject herself to another woman to protect her from

dangerous risksrisks that may be forced unto the woman from a superior male who dont

perceive his inferiors as an obligation. The character of the maleeither good or evilmay also

have an influence on the subjection of a woman. Superior males who inhabit the region of

Romania may use the law to persuade women that males are the superior being which continues

to influence their subjection toward a vice of Ceausesais Romanian dictorial state (Grunsven).

To provide more support to this claim, Otilias subjection forced her to dispose of a dead childs

corpse so that she could save her own freedomOtilias crime was her involvement with the

murder, and hen the disposal of a dead child!

The dark lighting and social surrounding of the alley helped display the secrecy and risks

that was involved with disposing the dead childs corpse. Also, the film demonstrated Gabitas

lack of desire and metaphorical motion to subject when she was hesitant and showed nervous

emotions to Mr. Bebe. To come to a conclusion, in an environment that supports inequality

among the sexes, Gabita and Otilia turned away from the direction of family structure, as Gabita

became obligated to subject to a male who posed to be evil in character. To explain more, Gabita

aborted her child, as Otilia departed from Adi who invited her into his family and even

mentioned marriage. Though, in regards to comparing the learning outcome from philosophical

texts and films, this essay shows that texts may educate people more on philosophical theories,

but film may help a student attain a further understanding than he or she comprehends from

studying a philosophical text.

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4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days. Dir. Christian Mungiu. Perf. Oleg Mutu, Mihaela Poenaru, Dana
Bunescu, Christinel Sirli, Phillip Avril, Alex Teodorescu. IFC Films, 2007. Dvd.
Grunsven, Janna Van. topic of film essay. Message to Matthew Shepler. 03 May 2015. E-mail.
Mill, John Stuart. The Subjection of Women. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1988.