Mr. Lăzărescu is 63 years old and lives in a block of flats, together with Nusu, Mirandolina and Fritz, his three cats. His wife died eight years ago and Bianca, his daughter, has moved to Canada. It’s a Saturday evening. Mr. Lazarescu doesn’t feel too well, so he calls for the Ambulance. Until the paramedics arrive he tries to ease his pain with something from his own supply of medicines. Because he is short of the pills he needs, he asks for his neighbors’ help. Sandu and Miki, the neighbors interrupted from their domestic activity, give him the first aid, although they can smell he’s been drinking. What looked like a headache from a hangover turns out to be a much more serious affliction when Lăzărescu, witnessed by the two neighbors, throws up blood. Eventually, the paramedic, Mrs. Mioara, shows up. Smelling the alcohol stench, she gives Mr. Lăzărescu vitamins and glucose and then, after a more thorough investigation, decides to take him to the hospital, suspecting a colon tumor. But things get complicated at the hospital. A car crash with lots of casualties is the priority for the doctors in the ER. To add to this, Doctor Ardelean is in no mood to admit an alcoholic and thus sends Mrs. Mioara, together with Mr. Lăzărescu to another hospital. What looked initially like a simple formality the admission to the hospital and the monitoring of an old man who’s been throwing up and complains of a headache- turns into a nightmare. As the night develops, the paramedic drives around Bucharest, trying to find a hospital that will accept the patient, whose health is deteriorating at an alarming rate.
Cristi Puiu’s debut as a director was in 2001 with the low budget road movie Stuff and Dough (Marfa si Banii) starring Alexandru Papadopol and Dragos Bucur. The film received several awards in international film festivals and competed in the Quinzaines des Realisateurs section of the Cannes Film Festival. He continued with a short film, Cigarettes and Coffee (Un cartus de Kent si un pachet de cafea, 2004), which was awarded the Golden Bear for best short film at the 2004 Berlin International Film Festival.
His second film, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Moartea domnului Lazarescu, 2005), features the drama of an old man who is carried by an ambulance from hospital to hospital all night long, as doctors keep refusing to treat him and send him away. The film was a critical success, being awarded with Prix Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival and numerous awards at other international film festivals. Year 2006 brought 47 prizes for his film The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Moartea… read more
terrible. tragic and terrible. like in police adjectiv, a human life depends on words and the random, escalating play of egos. this film is like a convex mirror, it reflects more than the mere circular surface it occupies on a wall, providing a wide field of view on social interactions, man confronting death, healthcare. rarely has a film been so comprehensive, so net-structured like this Oeil de Sorcière of a movie.
My visit to an African hospital last year was more pleasant than any of the medical centres in this film.
Puiu’s bare naked mise-en-scene makes the Dardennes look like Penny Marshal in comparison. There’s nothing between his camera and his subject- he’s a master. The way he slowly, imperceptibly transfers… read review