Winner of the Palme D'Or at Cannes in 2007, this Romanian film is a harrowing glimpse into life for young people in the repressive Ceau?escu era. Specifically, we see two young university students trying to arrange an illegal abortion in 1987. However, nothing is particularly clear from the start and director Cristian Mungiu only gradually reveals details of the women's situation -- and the brutal social and political context is explored only indirectly in passing. But perhaps because we are absorbed by the immediacy of the action (presented in widescreen long shot or as recorded by a mobile hand held camera), the harshness of life (and the corresponding indomitability or frailty of the human spirit) in Romania at that time comes across more clearly than it might in a more didactic film. In other words, you can intellectually contemplate the political or statistical data that tell us about what happened in Romania (or Syria or Rwanda or Cambodia or Nazi Germany) but an in-your-face narrative from the victim's point of view is always going to pack a stronger punch. This is not to say that the film is not enjoyable - in many ways it is enthralling (a testament to the direction and the stellar acting of Anamaria Marinca) as we experience a narrow slice of Romania firsthand in a way that those of us privileged to have been born free wouldn't have. Theirs is a drab, dark, wintry, impersonal, and seemingly dangerous world. But the specific incidents that happen to these women - and the fact that evil is perpetrated against them by men in particular - can't fail to highlight feminist and social justice concerns that are universal.