The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)
November 7, 2018 1:43 PM - Subscribe

When old Mr. Lazarescu falls ill and needs medical treatment, but modern life has ways of ignoring the old, the sick, and the poor. It will take him all night to die, if anyone is even paying any attention. A dark comedy from Romania.
posted by DirtyOldTown (4 comments total)

This film is "a comedy" in the same way that it was "a joke" when my cancer-ridden uncle said that "We all die alone" and then laughed until it turned into a smoker's cough, barked into his gnarled fist.

It's two and a half hours of a man slowly dying while bureaucracy, contempt for the elderly, and general lack of empathy halfheartedly follow the spectacle from the corner of their eyes.

This is not a movie that is going to give you a positive feeling about the world. It's kind of miserable, really. But it's poetic and sharply observed and hypnotically naturalistic in its approach. And even if it is the dourest kind of gallows humor, it is often pretty funny.

If you've watched Cristian Mungiu's films (two of which I just posted here today), Cristi Puiu's The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is a good followup. It's definitely from the same generation of post-revolution minimalist Romanian filmmakers. It's trying to make you uncomfortable and unhappy, but as a way of reminding you that you still have strong feelings about empathy and common decency, even if the world seems increasingly without empathy and decency seems increasingly uncommon.

If it's hard for you to bear, that means you're okay.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:53 PM on November 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

This is my favorite of the films from the "new Romanian" filmmakers: I think it's one of the best examples of realism I've ever seen on film.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 11:36 AM on November 11, 2018

I feel like this movie should be required viewing for medical students and other healthcare workers.

What a great, compelling film. I loved it from start to finish. Every character in it is pitch perfect, from the scolding but concerned neighbours to the nurse who steadfastly accompanies Mr. Lazarescu from hospital to hospital. At the end, when he’s being prepared for surgery, the filmmakers did a great job of conveying the parallels with how a body is prepared for burial.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:03 AM on March 31, 2020

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