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The Death of Mr.Lazarescu (R)

Release Date: April 26th, 2006 (Film Forum) by Tartan Films.
The Cast: Ion Fiscuteanu, Luminta Gheorghiu, Gabriel Spahiu, Doru Ana, Dana Dogaru, Serban Pavlu, Florin Zamfirescu.
Directed by Christi Puiu.
In Romanian with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: Mr.Lazarescu (Fiscuteanu), a 63 year-old loner, gradually dies throughout the night as nurse (Gheorghiu) brings him from hospital to hospital.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Given the title, you already know that Mr.Lazerscu will die from his ailments, but the main questions remain include: when, where, and how? From the opening scenes, Mr.Lazarescu, an overweight, drunk man, lies belly-up on the couch and soon starts coughing up blood. His neighbors refuse to help him because they blame his health on drunken state. At least they wait with him for paramedics to show up, which takes a while. Finally, a nurse arrives and brings him with her in the ambulance. From then on begins a journey that feels very difficult to watch because of how close it seems to reality. You feel like youíre alongside Mr.Lazarescu as doctor after doctor misdiagnose him and, in some cases, refuse to treat him-which is both sad and darkly funny at the same time. Also, this film feels somewhat like a mystery/horror film as his health gradually deteriorates for an unknown reasonóthe symptoms are there, but the real cause isnít. In a subplot which affects Mr.Lazarescuís lack of treatment, a bus accident causes dozens of victims to be crammed inside hospitals throughout Romania. Direct and co-writer Christi Puiu includes many details with an excruciatingly slow pace which tests your patience at times. Even at a lengthy running time of two hours and thirty minutes, your eyes will be glued to the screen with utmost curiosity, as if you were a witness to the tragicomic, increasingly chaotic events taking place.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: < Based on a true story with the same sad results, The Death of Mr.Lazarescu makes a strong, powerful statement about the lack of efficient health resources in Romania. The problem stems from a lack of proper staffing and poor training of doctors during emergencies. Many scenes at the hospitals are painful to watch and very depressing because of so many frustrating errors that make Mr.Lazarescuís condition worse, but the images will haunt you long after the film is over.



IN A NUTSHELL: Unforgettable! A profoundly disturbing and haunting experience!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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