The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
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Top Customer Reviews
The Romanian film "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu" is a 147-minute fictional drama that plays out almost entirely in what documentary filmmakers like to refer to as "real time." Lazarescu is a 62-year-old widower who lives with his three beloved cats in a rundown apartment in Bucharest. Even though he had an operation for a stomach ulcer 14 years earlier, Lazarescu still drinks excessively, perhaps as a means of assuaging his loneliness or perhaps because he is simply an alcoholic. As the movie begins, Lazarescu is suffering from a severe headache, stomach pains and vomiting, so he calls for an ambulance to come and take him to the hospital. The movie is a slice-of-life chronicle of that trip.
This is all the "story" director Cristi Puiu provides us with as we see Lazarescu being shuffled from one hospital and emergency room to another by a compassionate middle-aged paramedic named Mioara. Puiu clearly has some sharp things to say about the care - or in some cases, LACK of care - Lazarescu receives at the hands of a medical system that is overstretched and undermanned, filled with doctors who are often petty and ill-tempered towards not only their patients but even the paramedics whom the doctors perceive as being clearly "beneath" them in training and knowledge (the irony is that Mioara is more accurate in her diagnosis of the patient than a number of the doctors who examine him). However, Puiu also shows us doctors and nurses who perform their jobs admirably and treat the ill with kindness. Actually, the best thing about "The Death of Lazarescu" is that it observes without judgment. We really feel as if we are seeing life unfolding in front of us without so much as a trace of phoniness, melodramatics or theatricality to dilute the vision.Read more ›
This is pretty much the set-up to Cristi Puiu's "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu". And the title gives away the ending, so, we are only left with the middle.
"The Death of Mr. Lazarescu" is one of the first, if not the first Romanian film to receive huge international fame and actually be released in America in recent times.
Ever since the fall of Communism in Romania the country has struggled trying to find its voice. Strickly speaking about their films (we won't even dwell in their politics) they seem to be drawn towards dark, cynical comedies that they think will appeal to western audience (namely Americans). But, Romanian humor is hard for Americans to digest. Most people do not understand our Eastern European humor. Because of this these films have either, not been released in this country or have not gained much cross-over audience appeal.
The solution, of course, is easy. Romanians have to make films that are personal to them, not worry about what will appeal to Westerns. Now that Communism is over, why not make films dealing with life under its rule? Romanians could make human drama dealing with people and how life has changed since Communism's fall. Some films have attempted to do this, but with that dark humor.Read more ›
Romania. Sometimes tragic-comic, bitter and accurate, sad and funny, the movie brings a realisticly rude
picture of the faulty medical care in the Romanian hospitals. The director captured perfectly the atmosphere
in the ER, ambulances and the encounter with the medical staff. Excelently acted!
When, at the end of a film, you are pounding on things, throwing things across the room, and yelling how you're going to fly across the ocean and strangle the director, there is one inescapable conclusion to be reached: that film has done its job, and admirably. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu does just that, though there is nothing at all admirable about the film itself; that is one of the sources of its power.
Lazarescu (Ion Fiscuteanu) is a sixty-two-year-old widower living in squalor with three cats. He gets up one morning with a headache, to which a stomachache is later added. Self-medication doesn't work, so he calls the hospital and asks them to send an ambulance. Thus begins a six-hour trip through the Romanian socialized health system that is absurd, outrageous, and all too plausible. Things are complicated by a massive bus crash that has every ER in Bucharest overflowing. Lazarescu's only champion is Mioara (Code Inconnu's Luminita Gheorghiou), the paramedic who originally came to pick him up.
It is all too easy to fall into identifying with Lazarescu and Mioara here, and Puiu has certainly given us some characters who embody everything that is horrible about medical care; I can't imagine anyone watching this movie and not watching to perform some amateur brain surgery on a couple of these doctors. I'm not sure, however, that that was the entirety of Puiu's intention here. If he's wanted to create a one-dimensional screed against the Romanian health care system, he'd have made it, well, a lot more one-dimensional.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was born in Romania and escaped miraculously from that country some 45 years ago when I was 25. (See, all that at OneEscape.com). Read morePublished 22 months ago by 4Real
Since 1986, emergency rooms in the United States have been subject to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which requires them to provide treatment regardless of... Read morePublished on June 17, 2014 by Larry Benjamin
Received as expected. I have never heard of or knew about this DVD before purchase. Someone suggested it to me.Published on June 15, 2014 by James P. Blankenhorn
I really enjoy this film and decided to pick up a copy of it on DVD. Unfortunately, the color choice for the subtitles - bright blue text with a pixelated white border - is awful,... Read morePublished on December 15, 2013 by Cameron
This was not the worst movie I ever bought and watched.....but almost. Not a comedy by any stretch of the imaginaton. Even the additional stuff was bad. Read morePublished on September 6, 2013 by 3FingerBob
Lonely, retired Mr. Lazarescu becomes ill one night. His neighbors call an ambulance, and he's taken on a bizarre tour of Bucharest's hospitals, each of... Read more
It s true,it really reveals the true Romanian system,but this movie is nothing but comic! Long and boring and annoying......Published on January 24, 2013 by Teodora Tofana
I'm not certain how this film was labeled a comedy. It's anything but. This film is commentary on the healthcare system in Bucharest, though it's poignancy reflects the problem... Read morePublished on December 14, 2010 by S. K. Harrell
SURELY YOU GOT SOMETHING BETTER TO DO THAN TO WATCH THIS MOVIE.I QUITTED AFTER 47 MIN.I DARE U IF U CAN TOP IT.Published on October 21, 2010 by ben redares