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THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU

Director: CRISTI PUIU

ROMANIA • 2005 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • DOLBY STEREO SR • 150 MIN


A prize-winner at Cannes in 2005, this mesmerising second feature from director Cristi Puiu is the film that triggered all the excitement about recent Romanian cinema. Mr. Lazarescu (Ion Fiscuteanu) is a 62-year-old widower who’s in poor health and unlucky to be taken ill on a night when a dreadful road accident has filled Bucharest’s hospitals. Overworked and underpaid hospital staff have developed their own methods of coping, which make them arrogant and short-tempered. The glowing exception is Mioara (Luminita Gheorghiu), the medic who accompanies and assists Lazarescu as he’s shunted from pillar to post by a bureaucratic health service which is supposedly there to keep him alive. Although shot in the hyper-real style of a documentary, Puiu’s film is in fact carefully scripted. It never descends into a simple polemic, but instead presents a satisfyingly complex and often grimly humorous picture of a chaotic world where systems of communication can no longer cope with basic human needs. This epic study of human tragedy provides a devastating portrait of a universal malaise.


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