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The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)--About Healthcare or Something Else?

Jazzalo​ha

over 1 year ago

Film Comment ranks this as the sixth best film of the 2000s (28th on TSPDT list), and as a few friends and I are trying to choose our own best films of the 2000s, I was eager to see this film. My first response is to say the film is dark, absurdist comedy about Romanian health care system or maybe Romanian government and society in general. I’m a bit disappointed if this were the case. I enjoy dark humor in the form of over-the-top cruelty—i.e., it’s so over-the-top it’s absurdly funny. But I wonder if the reading the subtitles took away from the comedy, since these moments involved the doctors’ dialogue.

I haven’t really processed the film fully, and a part of me feels like the film is about something other than health care. It feels like an allegory or metaphor for something else—maybe Romanian government or Romanian society? Maybe the film is something like a mash-up of Scorsese’s Bringing Out the Dead and Gilliam’s Brazil. I have no idea. I did pick up the allusions to Dante’s Inferno (and that makes me think of BOtD), but is this a kind of adaptation or just a reference used to deal with another issue.

I’m curious to hear if each stop on the way has different significance and meaning in the film. It just seemed like each stop represented absurd mix-ups, callousness, cruelty and stupidity—without being significantly different. I’d be interested in hearing the significance of each of the different stops in the film.

Also, I’d love to hear any thoughts about the filmmaking. The formal qualities and the technical aspects of the film didn’t really stand out for me.

Finally, if anyone has a defense for this film being one of the best films of the 2000s, I’d love to hear that, too. Personally, putting this in the top 30, let alone the among the top ten, surprises me.

Doc Block

over 1 year ago

It’s a great film and will certainly be in among the great films of 2000. Lazarescu is a slow film about a man fading quietly from this life in a death rite of bureaucratic and cultural ineptitude. But the carelessness that lends Lazarescu its excruciating pace creates a setting for a criticism of the Romanian health care system that transcends its own context.

Much like Bresson’s A Man Escaped, the very title strips the film of any artificial suspense that would distract us from the fact that we are watching Mr. Lazarescu die. Even though Mr. Lazarescu has set the film in motion, we eventually watch his body simply pass through this series of indignities until the lights go off. The film lies in the basic metaphor of time,relations,moriarty red tapism of an health industry. If the viewer is experienced enough it can be said that each hospital turning away Lazarescu on grounds of alcoholism,mass accident and a patient suffering on a holiday is highly highly realistic

Puiu’s immersive cinema is not just an affectation that lends gravity to Lazarescu’s plight. It is a space in which we begin to feel the crushing weight of loss that seems an inherent risk of this health care system. There is no action-packed ER script to tie these loose ends together at the end. There is just a slow and inevitable indictment of the ease with which we watch the margins of society slip into government regulated systems of care.

Jazzalo​ha

over 1 year ago

Hmm. This is nothing against your post, Doc, but if the film is about the incompetence and insanity of bureaucracy—specifically health care bureaucracy, I feel a little disappointed. I guess I don’t feel the film really brought anything insightful or nuanced to the subject. Yes, there were amusing, if not funny, moments, but I don’t know if it’s surprising that a bureaucracy would function in a callous and stupid way.

Now, if the film is an accurate depiction of the Romanian health care system that is truly something horrifying, and it makes me glad to have American health care, despite bureaucratic inanities.

I can’t help but feel the film wants to say something beyond health care, but I’m not sure about that.

El hombre huevo

over 1 year ago

The film is about a man dying alone with only the fleeting presence of a hand-held camera capturing his descent. It’s not about health care. It’s not about bureaucracy.

Can one imagine how lonely it is to die? You can now.

Jazzalo​ha

over 1 year ago

That’s interesting, and I’m interested in hearing a case for this. The character’s loneliness—specifically with regard to dying—didn’t really stand out for me, although maybe I just completely missed this aspect of the film. So much of the film seemed to be about the callous, selfish, and stupid behavior of the people around him at various points—starting with the neighbors and all the way to the medical personnel at the last hospital (who, at least, seemed more sensible and competent—or did I miss something? The female paramedic was caring, at least for the most part.) The film seemed to be more about these things than the sense of loneliness when one dies.

El hombre huevo

over 1 year ago

Watch the phone call he has with his daughter at the beginning of the film again and tell me it isn’t the loneliest phone call ever put on film.

Your father tells you he’s dying and you tell him to stop bothering you. Even worse, you’re completely justified in saying so.

That’s how the film starts. The rest of the film is just people trying to ignore death to continue living. Consider the two doctors in love; what’s more natural? Love? Or death? For the living, death is utterly unthinkable, for the dying, though…

Jazzalo​ha

over 1 year ago

The rest of the film is just people trying to ignore death to continue living.

Hmm, I didn’t see it that way. There was a farcical quality about the way the people downplayed the seriousness of his situation. (Most of them assuming he just had too much to drink.) I don’t think they genuinely believed he had a serious condition, but they were just ignoring it because they didn’t want to personally think about death. I didn’t get that at all. The emergency surgeon that looked like C. Everett Coop was just callous and over-the-top cruel. Ditto the guy that ran the CT scan. Then there’s the ridiculous surgeon that refused to operate unless Lazarescu signed the waiver. (He and the female doctor—out of stupid pride—got their knickers in a bunch when the paramedic urged them to hurry.) It was one absurdity after another, and I didn’t get the sense they derived from fear of dealing with death.

I’m not saying that Lazarescu wasn’t lonely. That could be part of the story, but I didn’t feel like it was a central theme.

Robert W Peabody III

over 1 year ago

The rest of the film is just people trying to ignore death to continue living.

People playing their ‘living roles’, is how I would phrase it.

….starting with the neighbors and all the way to the medical personnel at the last hospital (who, at least, seemed more sensible and competent—or did I miss something? The female paramedic was caring…

Yes, but wasn’t it her role and ‘HOW’ she carried it out the comment the film was making? The others could have doen the same…

El hombre huevo

over 1 year ago

“I don’t think they genuinely believed he had a serious condition…”

The point being made in the comment is that every single person ignores his condition on some level (so of course they scoff at the seriousness of it); his daughter, his neighbors, his doctors. They’re too wrapped up in life to concern themselves with death.
Hence the reference to the two doctors in love. They don’t care about this dying man, they care about each other. Because, what is more natural? You have to answer that question to get any bearing over the film.

What is the first doctor trying to do? Save lives. What would he discover if he’d given Lazarescu serious consideration? A dying man. He was dying from the beginning. Nothing could have been done to save him (as is said by the doctors in the end of the film). He was dead the minute the film opened. One is too concerned with life, to care about death.

Nathan M...

over 1 year ago

I saw the movie as a gritty farce; one which can speak both to the loneliness of the dying and the self-involvement of the living. It never struck me as being about health care, though. The film was far to close to the lives of its characters to say much anything meaningful about something as broad and bureaucratically based as the health care system.

Hellsho​cked

over 1 year ago

As most Romanian New Wave films it is tinged with elements of post-revolution transition malaise. To say that is has nothing to do with the health care system when each and every doctor in the film seems to represent a type (the arrogant bastard who uses his medical knowledge to show his superiority over those he is attending, the one who trades in favors for preferential treatment, the one who feels nothing but contempt for those he treats, etc) and when the bureaucracy seemingly exists to make it harder for a person to even receive medical attention is weird. Especially given the film’s title and our lead character’s name (Dante Lazarescu).

That said, the film tends to view the healthcare system as an extension of contemporary Romanian society itself, a society where a man like Mr. Lazarescu (elderly, not wealthy, alone) has no place. Throughout the film people alternatingly disbelieve him, blame him for his illness (everyone refers to his drinking) and ignore his pleas. He is entirely powerless until others (young, educated, wealthy and/or with friends) intervene in his behalf. Throughout the entire ordeal, however, he maintains his dignity. The film never takes any cheap shots at him. It’s clear where Puiu’s sympathies lie.

Francis​co J. Torres

over 1 year ago

How about “Life under late Capitalism”?

Jazzalo​ha

over 1 year ago

@Falderal

The point being made in the comment is that every single person ignores his condition on some level (so of course they scoff at the seriousness of it); his daughter, his neighbors, his doctors. They’re too wrapped up in life to concern themselves with death.

The thing is, the way they treat him isn’t realistic—it’s absurd—in a way that is a black humor/farcical way. Do you feel like the characters are behaving in a realistic way—i.e., the film is more of realistic film? To me, the characters and acting are more like Dr. Strangelove or In the Loop than acting in The Godfather or even a Mike Leigh film.
The film feels like it’s poking fun at the system, the people in the system and the situations Lazarescu faces.

What is the first doctor trying to do? Save lives. What would he discover if he’d given Lazarescu serious consideration? A dying man.

Are you saying that he doesn’t seriously examine Lazarescu because he’s afraid he might discover that nothing can done for him? That seems really absurd. When he first sees Lazarescu, he has no idea how serious his illness is. You’re not saying that he treats every patient in a shoddy way because he’s afraid of discovering the patient is doomed, are you? The neighbors or the paramedic have no clue that the illness is serious. Now, if there were good reason to suspect that he was going to die and then they downplayed it, maybe what you’re saying would be more compelling to me. But they don’t know—and neither does the audience—not in the beginning of the film.

Now, I realize that many people are afraid of death and dying, and they try to avoid dealing with it. However, I don’t think the people avoid death in the way the characters are supposedly doing in this film.

@Nathan

The film was far to close to the lives of its characters to say much anything meaningful about something as broad and bureaucratically based as the health care system.

What do you mean by “far to close to the lives of the characters?” Are you also referring to the medical professionals as well?

Doc Block

over 1 year ago

I think the film doesn’t want to prove anything at all. Just a deadpan comedy with a a more ignorant flat characters.

But I thing if you will notice about the film is that it is not directly or indirectly attacking the romanian healthcare. There was a major accident a bridge had collapsed and a lot of people were hurt. So the film hangs in a delicate balance of whether it was Lazarescu’s fault for drinking binge having a tumour operation or the healthcare nurses or doctors or the medical agent Miora. There is nothing given in a strict code as who’s fault or what is wrong here in the first place.

lhson

over 1 year ago

“The film is about a man dying alone with only the fleeting presence of a hand-held camera capturing his descent. It’s not about health care. It’s not about bureaucracy.”

Well the thing is, it’s about both of those things at the same time.

Jazzalo​ha

over 1 year ago

@Doc

But I thing if you will notice about the film is that it is not directly or indirectly attacking the romanian healthcare.

Actually, it seems like the film is attacking Romanian health care.

There was a major accident a bridge had collapsed and a lot of people were hurt. So the film hangs in a delicate balance of whether it was Lazarescu’s fault for drinking binge having a tumour operation or the healthcare nurses or doctors or the medical agent Miora.There is nothing given in a strict code as who’s fault or what is wrong here in the first place.

But are you saying no one’s to blame because a major accident occurred? (I think eleven people end up dying in the accident.) If the health care system can’t appropriately handle one individual because of such an accident, that doesn’t speak well of the health care system, does it? There’s no excuse for the way the medical professionals treat Lazarescu. But their treatment is so absurd that I have to believe it was done intentionally to create a farce.

Doc Block

over 1 year ago

I would n’t say attack but ridicule would be the right term here.

Frankly, why should anyone be blamed for an accident which occurred due to the collapse of a bridge ?

It’s not a question of handling him properly but a hostile attitude and ignorance to his plea for the state he is in added to that his lack of not having a proper representative. Had he been accompanied by his sister or his romanian neighbors he wouldn’t be the subject of such mockery in the first place. It was his solidarity and his relapse in the latter part of the film which added fuel to the fire.

There is no excuse for the way he is represented. Here one needs to have knowledge about a country’s healthcare policies to make a bold statement. Sure compared to USA’s treatment it would look fallible. Regarding their treatment I wouldn’t completely say it was absurd. It was the night shift of a holiday plus a major accident had occured. Most doctors and nurses were frustrated and Lazarescu became a victim of it.

Doc Block

over 1 year ago

That being said it was also added with a wisp of satire too, but not absurdly funny.

Jazzalo​ha

over 1 year ago

@Doc

*I would n’t say attack but ridicule would be the right term here.

Yeah, ridicule might be more appropriate—although the purpose of the ridicule seems to criticize the system. (Hence, attack.)

Frankly, why should anyone be blamed for an accident which occurred due to the collapse of a bridge ?

Huh. I’m sure what happened in my response. What I meant was—are you suggesting that the health care system isn’t to blame for the way it treats Lazarescu because of the bridge’s collapse. It didn’t seem like a major catastrophe—only eleven people died. If the country had suffered a terrorist attack on the order of 9-11, then we might be more forgiving towards the medical professional for their treatment of Lazarescu, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with the bridge.

Regarding their treatment I wouldn’t completely say it was absurd. It was the night shift of a holiday plus a major accident had occured. Most doctors and nurses were frustrated and Lazarescu became a victim of it.

The night shift holiday and accident don’t explain their behavior, imo. What about the neighbors? For me, the behavior was absurd in an over-the-top, funny way. (You didn’t think the dialogue was written in this farcical way—e.g., “Hey pops, been drinking much?” It’s ridiculous how each of the doctors just assume that the problem is that he drank too much; and the way they express this is pretty cruel way—but it’s intentionally cruel for comedic effect.)

It’s not a question of handling him properly but a hostile attitude and ignorance to his plea for the state he is in…

But those go together. Hostile attiude and ignoring his pleas=bad care.

…added to that his lack of not having a proper representative.

You thought the neighbors were a lot more competent? Then seemed pretty clueless and uncaring as well. I don’t see any reason the sister would be any different. My feeling is that the characters are portrayed in an exaggerated, bungling or rude way—everyone except Lazarescu, that is. That’s the source of the comedy.

That being said it was also added with a wisp of satire too, but not absurdly funny.

Personally, I think it’s much more than a wisp.

Doc Block

over 1 year ago

It didn’t seem like a major catastrophe—only eleven people died. If the country had suffered a terrorist attack on the order of 9-11, then we might be more forgiving towards the medical professional for their treatment of Lazarescu

I have said that. It was a holiday night and it’s very justified of the number of doctors present are all ready with their plates full and the nurses are understaffed. Lazarescu’s drinking caused more apathy in their minds than a sympathy to tend to him giving extra care in the heat of the crisis.

The night shift holiday is the fulcrum which places the film in a unique position. Had it been a normal working day where would the comedy lie for the events that take place.

(You didn’t think the dialogue was written in this farcical way—e.g., “Hey pops, been drinking much?

No actually. Lazarescu wasn’t a big shot or a somebody. He was resident of a shaby building and furthermore people kind of loathed him for drinking attitudes and his cats littering the hallway. So I think people was just taunting him except for his next door neighbors. Point to be noted. The doctors didn’t wholly assume. Miora attested to the fact that his condition was brought through heavy binge drinking and his liver had swollen three times indicating that it was indeed a drinking problem.

I am not denying the bad care but as I stated earlier, its as much fault of the doctors as its of Lazarescu and being the victim of a wrong person in the wrong time.

The question of neighbors being competent doesn’t even arise. A patient with a representative always has the upper hand.

I don’t see any reason the sister would be any different. My feeling is that the characters are portrayed in an exaggerated, bungling or rude way—everyone except Lazarescu, that is.

In case of the sister being a different can be anybody’s guess. She could have been cruel or caring. A definite fact cannot be established here.

Yes it’s rude and unintentional comedy but I really found it amusing and comic throughout the film. In a comedy thats what matters most importantly. Even a Groucho Marx comedy consists of him downplaying and acting rude in a comic way.

lenke

over 1 year ago

@Jazzaloha

“if the film is about the incompetence and insanity of bureaucracy—specifically health care bureaucracy, I feel a little disappointed.”

I don’t think that is the case. Have you read Kafka? Specifically The Trial and The Castle? I’m asking this in order to know how to structure my answer. In addition to those here’s a typically Romanian joke:

A guy happens to help out a minister when the car of this one breaks down in the middle of nowhere, so the minister promises to put a good word for him in settling a problem the guy has in/with an office in the capital. He says that the guy should tell the clerk that he had talked with him and everything will be just fine. So the countryside guy travels up to the capital, confidently that his problem, that has been dragged on and on, would be finally solved.

But the clerk would not hear anything about it and mentioning the minister’s name has no effect, so our hero walks out defeatedly from the office. In front of the building he accidentally bumps into said minister, who joyfully answers to his greeting, expecting gratitude: “So? everything allright, huh?” The guy from the countryside tells him that mentioning his almighty name didn’t mean anything to the clerk. The minister is outraged. Grabs his sleeve and storms into the office with him. “Hey, why the heck you didn’t fix this man’s problem, if he asked you so, referring to the fact that I know him?” The clerk shrugs: “I’m awfully sorry, sir, but he didn’t insist…”

The minister turns in disbelief to the guy: “Is this even true? You didn’t insist? You did not insist? In that case, my friend, I can’t see how anyone would be able to help you…”

One very important key to understanding the film relies on this joke.

Jazzalo​ha

over 1 year ago

I don’t think that is the case. Have you read Kafka? Specifically The Trial and The Castle? I’m asking this in order to know how to structure my answer.

No I haven’t read either, but I’m somewhat famiilar with Kafka.

One very important key to understanding the film relies on this joke.

Oh man. I think I didn’t understand the film, because I don’t get the joke.

lenke

over 1 year ago

Okay then, I’ll try to explain it otherwise.

You must agree with me that the entire movie is a (series of) metaphor(s). First of all we have the archetypical character of Mr. Lăzărescu. He is carefully crafted to match what we think of a lonely, weird old guy – by no means a hero or anyone we would look up to for anything nor an anti-hero we would struggle to understand, judge or dismiss. He is a nobody. Not great, not infamous. Fits into our prejudice of old age and encapsulates our fears of being “nothing special” in any ways whatsoever.

Then there are lots of traps to avoid. We are human, after all. One has the natural instinct to help others IF. (If you see a kitten/puppy in distress and it costs you little effort to step in, of course you do. Let alone if you see a lost and frightened small child on a darkening street! If a well-groomed, visibly not drunk, nor drugged person starts to have difficulties in walking and collapses in front of you, you call 911 and try to help. Etc. The “if” is rarely overwritten by personal character. The law of thumb: the intervention should be realistically achievable without costing the helper a much bigger effort and investment than the “size” of the good feeling that results from the good deed. Even Mother Theresa counted on the rewards for all she was doing – the difference is that she “only” wanted God to see it all and expected the subsequent blessings mainly in the afterlife.)

So the authors of the film are very careful, not to offer you any reason to consider that even feeling sympathy, let alone helping Mr. Lăzărescu would be profitable in any ways for anyone. To put it very simply: one would have to invest a whole lot more effort in helping him than the rewards from saving his life would mean. At this point I would make an allusion to a scene from Grey’s Anatomy: a resident surgeon stands fully clothed – and soaked – in the shower. He is visibly very “fallen apart”. When his girlfriend tries to find out what is wrong, he tells her how the day brought back a case to his memory: once he used his very best to save someone’s life, though it seemed a hopeless struggle. But he managed! – and when the patient was well back to health, he sent him a thank you note – and then committed suicide. The girlfriend, also a surgeon, silently steps into the shower and caresses his face…. she obviously understands him. The condition of Mr. Lăzărescu suggests to the doctors – even if they don’t realize this on a conscious level: why bother to save him? he will die soon anyway… and even while being dragged back to life, he probably won’t realize in the first place what was done for him, let alone appreciate the effort. So no “point” in it – and no gratitude, no “thank you” to be expected. He is not important for anyone, not even for himself. (In bracket be told: if you do good deeds and you don’t want the result to last, to mean a difference, moreover: you don’t expect even a “thanks” from anyone, then you are either a liar – or you should be studied by psychologists.)

So, by stripping away the most remote chance of identifying with Mr. Lăzărescu based on any other levels, you are left with the only one element you can relate to: he is a human being.

And he dies an absurd death.

In case you could follow my reasoning so far: have you read The Death of Ivan Ilyich? So that I know how to go on from here…

Joks

over 1 year ago

So Lenke, in short, what do you think the ‘point’ of the film is? Not the message per se, but the ‘point’? Why was it made? For what purpose?

I’m still in two minds about it.

Robert W Peabody III

over 1 year ago

@ Joks For what purpose?

It is exposing a universal concern of society: purposefulness

You didn’t insist? You did not insist? (From lenke’s post above.)

The conflict shown in the film arises when people move beyond their structured purpose or ‘role’.
The nurses, the EMT, the doctors.

Saving Mr. Lăzărescu would serve no purpose.

Many artists might see this film as asking an allegorical question: what purpose does art have in society?

Joks

over 1 year ago

^^It’s similar to Aurora in that sense too Robert?

I haven’t seen Aurora. i take it you liked Mr.Lazarescu more then?

Are both films also interested in the question of who deserves to live or die?

Robert W Peabody III

over 1 year ago

That’s not the way I read Aurora. If you want spoilers, I can provide one.

heh – I forgot I already did that on the Aurora thread.

lenke

over 1 year ago

@Joks

“So Lenke, in short, what do you think the ‘point’ of the film is? Not the message per se, but the ‘point’?”

I don’t know what are you asking. If not the message(s), then what can be the point in any object or element of culture? What is the point in painting, singing – in fact what is the point in getting up in the morning?

Can you tell me using another example, what the difference between the message(s) of a film and its point is?

Jazzalo​ha

over 1 year ago

@Lenke

The condition of Mr. Lăzărescu suggests to the doctors – even if they don’t realize this on a conscious level: why bother to save him?

Not to be harsh or too blunt, but I don’t find this reading very compelling. The film shows—and pokes fun at—the doctor’s misdiagnosis, thinking that he’s only had too much to drink. Not only that, but some of the doctors are cavalier and cruel to Lazarescu, in a way that is so over-the-top that it’s funny. In other words, the doctor seem to not recognize that he’s in a hopeless situation, at least initially. And when some of them do realize that he may have a serious condition, they take the appropriate steps to help him (e.g., ordering tests, sending him to another doctor for treatment). The paramedic who accompanies him seems to genuinely care for him and actually expends a considerable about of energy to try and help him get the treatment he needs. All of this go against your explanation that people don’t want to put in any effort to save him because his situation is hopeless. Your explanation also doesn’t explain why some of the people are callous or foolish (e.g., the doctors who refuse to operate on Lazarescu if he doesn’t sign a waiver, even though Lazarescu is clearly incapacitated).

So, by stripping away the most remote chance of identifying with Mr. Lăzărescu based on any other levels, you are left with the only one element you can relate to: he is a human being.

By “stripping away,” are you referring to the fact that Lazarescu is an ordinary person?

In case you could follow my reasoning so far: have you read The Death of Ivan Ilyich? So that I know how to go on from here…

I have read that.

@Robert

It is exposing a universal concern of society: purposefulness

How does the film show this?

The conflict shown in the film arises when people move beyond their structured purpose or ‘role’.
The nurses, the EMT, the doctors.

Saving Mr. Lăzărescu would serve no purpose.

I don’t see the connection between these two sentences. Are you saying that the film is saying one shouldn’t go beyond their role in society or position of authority? How does that relate to the idea that saving Lazarescu serves no purpose?

lenke

over 1 year ago

@Jazzaloha

“The film shows—and pokes fun at—the doctor’s misdiagnosis, thinking that he’s only had too much to drink. Not only that, but some of the doctors are cavalier and cruel to Lazarescu, in a way that is so over-the-top that it’s funny. In other words, the doctor seem to not recognize that he’s in a hopeless situation, at least initially.”

They don’t believe that there is anything wrong with him that they could or should fix. Let me refer back to what I said: If a well-groomed, visibly not drunk, nor drugged person starts to have difficulties in walking and collapses in front of you, you call 911 and try to help. I don’t ask anyone in particular, but if there is someone collapsing on the street who is dirty and visibly drunk or drugged (at least they appear to be so), how many people would step in to help the same way as I said above? Mr. Lăzărescu just doesn’t seem worth the trouble, sorry.

“And when some of them do realize that he may have a serious condition, they take the appropriate steps to help him (e.g., ordering tests, sending him to another doctor for treatment).”

Yes, because then his visibly deteriorating condition overwrites the judgements re. his being just a drunk nobody. The professional attitude kicks in. It doesn’t matter any more who he is, one should follow the protocol. Which protocol demands the patient’s agreement with the treatment. So the doctor blindly sticks to that. Mr. Lăzărescu is not someone for whom one would risk to be accused of not respecting the books.

“The paramedic who accompanies him seems to genuinely care for him and actually expends a considerable about of energy to try and help him get the treatment he needs. All of this go against your explanation that people don’t want to put in any effort to save him because his situation is hopeless. Your explanation also doesn’t explain why some of the people are callous or foolish (e.g., the doctors who refuse to operate on Lazarescu if he doesn’t sign a waiver, even though Lazarescu is clearly incapacitated).”

Notice the age of the paramedic, please. And remember the joke I told you. One must insist, even if that particular thing is their right and even if someone with power stands behind them. THIS is specific to Romania. Mr. Lăzărescu most probably reminds the paramedic of someone… a relative, maybe. (There is a joking question by the way among those who volunteer in centres with children with autism, disabilities, deficiencies and such: who in your family had or has a similar problem? the general opinion: you don’t know what a problem means, unless you got in contact with it first hand. Only those understand an addiction for example, who used to be addicted themselves. And they are the most efficient helpers too.)