HE to Cristian Mungiu, Romania-based director of the classic, world-renowned 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days

“Cristian — Greetings & salutations. Could I ask you to please explain the aspect-ratio situation on the Criterion Bluray of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days?’

“My recollection is that the film was originally shown in either 1.78:1 or 1.85:1 or 2:1. But a Gary Tooze review of the forthcoming Criterion Bluray says (I think) it’s presented at 2:39:1.

What does the audience gain from the top half of Anamaria Marinca’s head being chopped off? What does it gain from Vlad Ivanov‘s forearms and hands being sliced off?

Quote: “The framing is slightly different than previous releases, with the image showing more on the top and left of the frame, with slightly less at the bottom (the right edge of the frame staying the same).”

“‘Slightly’ different? Tooze’s frame captures show that the Criterion version is MUCH wider than previous versions, and that significant amounts of visual information have been lopped off the tops and bottoms.

“I haven’t seen the Criterion Bluray but if Tooze’s description is correct, why would your film suddenly be presented in a different aspect ratio after so many years? Because once again, a Criterion Bluray has cleavered visual information for no discernible reason. I prefer the earlier versions, which felt more natural with ample breathing room. I generally deplore Criterion’s arbitrary aspect-ratio revisionism. Their recent slicing of Some Like It Hot (1.66 cleavered down to 1.85) was unforgivable.

“Hope you are well. — Jeffrey Wells, HE”