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Archive for the ‘Death of Mr. Lazarescu; The’ Category

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu – review – Film Comment #6

Film Comment – #6 – The Death of Mr. Lazarescu – Cristi Pulu – 2005


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When I was looking for a poster graphic for my blog, I came across a wide variety of posters that depicted the film in completely opposite ways. I’ve listed both of them here. In some countries it was billed as a comedy, others as a tragedy. I found the film to be a tragic portrayal of old age catching up to us all, and never really bought into the comedic angle.

The film begins with Mr. Lazarescu, who lives alone except for his cats, calling an ambulance, visibly ill. The person on the other end asks him if he’s been drinking to which he replies, “well of course I’m drinking who doesn’t!?” This was probably the only funny part to me. His neighbors soon take care of him reassuring him that everything is fine, probably just some bug. Now this is all that happens for the first hour of the film, but for some reason I was riveted, and a lot of that I felt had to do with Pulu’s in your face, jittery handy-cam work.

The paramedics, doctors, and everyone else, feel obliged to just deal with Mr. Lazarescu because they have to, but soon one paramedic starts to look after him as he is shuffled from hospital to hospital. He is given different diagnosis, and waits for an MRI to be completed, but nobody seems to give him their full attention. I really can’t tell you why, but I just became fascinated with the ongoings of each hospital, as they attempted to deal with him, and all of the other tragedies that were coming into the ER as well. Soon you can’t believe that no one will look after this man, or take time to help him in the way he needs to be helped.

Mr. Lazarescu is more of an indictment on the inner day to day workings of the ER, and it tells the story in a very realistic way. It was definitely, finally, a decent little hidden gem in this list.

Grade: A-