Reason #4,526,397 why France is different than the USA: I don't remember watching any abortion dramas as part of the curriculum when I went to school. The Guardian is reporting that 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days -- about a woman seeking an abortion in dictatorial Romania, circa 1987 -- will be screened in French schools. But don't worry: even the French had reservations about whether it was appropriate to do so.

To put things in their proper perspective, 4 Months is no sensationalist film exploiting its subject matter. It garnered sensational reviews at Cannes, where it won the Palme d'Or, but critics like our own James Rocchi pointed out that, though it's definitely "not 'fun' ... it's incredibly affecting, magnificently acted and superbly made." James said the film moved and challenged him, made him feel and think as it "demonstrated the personal and political challenges of a heartbreaking choice that, in many ways, is no choice at all."

4 Months also won the National Education Prize, which entitled it to receive government funding to produce a special educational DVD that would then be shown to French students aged 15-18. The education minister thought the film was so "incredibly hard to watch," he announced last Friday that the project would not be funded. Reportedly he wanted "to protect a vulnerable audience" and said his decision had nothing to do with the subject matter. No matter: Laure Tarnaud, a member of the "French society of French directors," noted that Gus Van Sant's Elephant was screened in schools and claimed that "the censorship ... appears to be motivated by the desire not to talk about abortion." The education minister "vehemently denied" the charge, but nonetheless reversed his decision the following day. Now I'm curious: are films with such serious subject matter being shown at your local high school?