The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)

A quiet kafkaesque nightmare lashing out at an inhumane healthcare system

The Very Best

8.6

Movie

Romania
Romanian
Comedy, Drama
2005
CRISTI PUIU
Adrian Titieni, Alexandru Potocean, Alina Berzunteanu
150 min

What it's about

After suffering terrible headaches and stomach cramps, Mr. Lăzărescu, a lonely 63 year-old man, calls for an ambulance, beginning one man’s hellish journey through Bucharest hospitals in search of proper medical care. As the night unfolds, his health starts to deteriorate fast.

The take

Mr. Lazarescu is a widower living with his cats in a small Bucharest apartment. One night when he begins to feel sick and calls for help, he sets in motion a kafkaesque parade of nurses, doctors, and hospitals as he is ferried through a bureaucratic maze unable to get treatment for his rapidly deteriorating condition. Cristi Puiu’s searing indictment of a failed healthcare system mixes kitchen-sink realism with tinges of gallows humor for a remarkable one-of-a-kind experience.

Beneath its grim demeanor is a clear-eyed portrait of the heart-rending weariness of paramedics and hospital staff that speaks spectacularly to our current mid-pandemic moment of exhausted doctors and overflowing facilities. This focus on the toll of the system on paramedics, in particular, makes this a fantastic pairing with Martin Scorcese’s’ underrated Bringing Out the Dead.

Comments

if you don’t have a good health care system in your country you won’t find this movie funny.

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