Review: The Death of Mr. Lazarescu – Moartea domnului Lãzãrescu (2005)


The Death of Mr. Lazarescu – Moartea domnului Lãzãrescu (2005)

Directed by: Cristi Puiu | 153 minutes | comedy, drama | Actors: Doru Ana, Monica Barladeanu, Alina Berzunteanu, Dorian Boguta, Mimi Branescu, Mihai Bratila, Dragos Bucur, Robert Bumbes, Dan Chiriac, Mirela Cioaba, Laura Cret, Dana Dogaru, Bogdan Dumitrache, Alexandru Fifea, Alexandru Fifea

mr. Lazarescu (Ion Fiscuteanu), an elderly alcoholic with health problems, tries to call an ambulance from his cluttered apartment. “I’ve had a headache for about four days now and I’m throwing up,” he tells the dispatcher at the emergency room. After waiting an eternity, he starts begging his neighbors Sandu and Mihaela for some painkillers. These initially think that Mr. Lazarescu is fed up as usual, but after observing him for a while, they start to worry.

After a few phone calls, an ambulance finally shows up. Ambulant Mioara Avram (Luminita Gheorghiu) is clear: Mr. Lazarescu needs to go to a hospital as soon as possible. Mioara subsequently accompanies the old man to various hospitals, but wherever they go, Mr. Lazarescu mercilessly rejected. As the evening progresses and Mr. As Lazarescu’s condition deteriorates, the duo becomes increasingly entangled in a web of bureaucratic procedures and exasperating hypocrisy.

Director Cristi Puiu won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes for ‘The Death of Mr. Lazarescu’, a response to the deplorable health system of his home country Romania. Puiu shows in a simple, yet powerful way the dubious side of Romanian hospitals and emergency departments. The tragedy of his film lies in the unconcerned attitude of the various doctors and medical subordinates who take their rudeness towards Mr. Letting go of Lazarescu. It is not that they have become insensitive to their profession over time, but that they make people like Mr. To regard Lazarescu as inferior. It ensures that as a viewer, just like the characters, you constantly fluctuate between powerlessness and frustration.

When the titular ‘Mr. Lazarescu’ Ion Fiscuteanu (a famous Romanian theater actor) portrays a memorable character. He is grumpy, depressed, witty, down to earth, frustrated, caring, cynical and vulnerable, all in a very believable way. His background is released bit by bit throughout the film. mr. Lazarescu is a widower. He has one daughter, but she emigrated to Canada years ago. Since then, the old drunk has lived in a crammed apartment with his three cats, which he lets roam around the shared complex unencumbered. This regularly leads to nuisance for neighbours. mr. Lazarescu, however, does not care much about this. The cats bring comfort and joy to his desolate existence.

As the evening progresses, the realization grows that Mr. Lazarescu is unlikely to be reunited with his cats. As he sinks further and further into a state of unconsciousness, there is only one person he can rely on: Mioara. The seasoned paramedic does everything he can to help Mr. Decently guiding Lazarescu through the Orwellian hospital world. Luminita Gheorghiu plays Mioara sincere and pure. It soon becomes clear that Mioara has been involved in the world of medical emergencies for some time. She is shrewd and does not fall for her mouth. Plus, for the most part, her appearance is completely impassive. She has been through a lot during her career and she carries these events with her all the time.

‘The Death of Mr. Lazarescu’ is a moving film experience. There are moments when the film feels like a documentary, partly due to the sober and static film style. There are also darkly comic moments, with witty dialogues and eccentric characters. But first and foremost, ‘The Death of Mr. Lazarescu’ a razor-sharp indictment against healthcare in Romania. In that respect, the narration is never theatrical or incorrect. The film is just the opposite; always sincere and striking, just like the main character. mr. Lazarescu is neither a hero nor a martyr. What is he? Simple: a person. That should be more than enough.