- Directors: Cristi Puiu
- Format: Anamorphic, PAL
- Language: Romanian
- Subtitles: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: 15
- Studio: Palisades Tartan
- DVD Release Date: 23 Oct. 2006
- Run Time: 150 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B000H1QR36
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,821 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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The Death Of Mr Lazarescu  [DVD]
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Off-beat Romanian satire. Mr Lazarescu (Ion Fiscuteanu) is a 63-year-old man who lives in a ramshackle apartment with his three cats. Complaining of head and stomach pains, his neighbours eventually call him an ambulance. What follows is a tour through Romania's crumbling infrastructure, as Mr Lazarescu is shifted from pillar to post, meeting an assortment of eccentric characters on the way, as he experiences pointless beaurocracy and casual inefficiency from the inside.
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is a sadly funny film that tells the story of an old man whom no one really knows or cares about. When he falls ill and needs medical treatment, he faces a team of busy doctors who are concerned because they have to be, not because they really care. Running just over 2-1/2 hours, this Romanian film allows the viewer to visualize how suffocatingly slow time must seem for Lazarescu (Ion Fiscuteanu), who isn't expecting the best treatment--just any treatment would be nice. With the exception of a conscientious paramedic, there doesn't seem to be much concern whether he lives or dies. TV viewers have been weaned on medical dramas such as ER, Chicago Hope, and House--all of which depict physicians who will go to all lengths to cure their patients. While noble and entertaining, these series probably offer less realism than The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, in which lack of funds and staff don't allow time for suitable bedside manner. No one is vilified, not even some of the hospital staff that is disgusted by the side effects of their patients' illnesses. The story is well told in a humane and mesmerizing manner that yanks at the heartstrings while still eliciting a laugh or two. --Jae-Ha Kim
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Top Customer Reviews
The ultimate optimism of the film lies in the great humanity embodied by the female paramedic - earthy, weary, but wholly decent - and one of the doctors - an ethereal, angelic, saintly presence in the midst of so much medico-heartlessness, arrogance and recklessness. A unique and essential work of art.
The concerning thing is, although set in Bucharest, the same disturbing scenario could be played out anywhere in Europe as the plight of elderly patients is ignored and treated with apathy.
I actually begin to forget I was watching a film. Such is the realism of the acting and the camera angles that I became absorbed in what felt like a true life documentary. I felt anger and frustration as I watched a helpless patient being shunted from hospital to hospital across the city, receiving indifferent and varying diagnoses, constantly being treated with absolute disregard, yet trying to maintain his dignity and hold his temper throughout.
At times its not easy viewing, and it is so easy to become irritated with the attitude of the various characters, but that is down to the talent of the actors and the realism of this film. I would highly recommend it, but don't look for too many laughs.
Although being billed as a black comedy, what you have is closer to tragedy. You're watching the dehumanisation of the man next door. You're watching as this apparently normal ageing man is mocked, disrespected and disregarded from hospital to hospital, by doctors, nurses...they don't care that this man may be dying or that he may be in pain, they really don't care. What's that tell you? The importance of this film lies in the way it makes us more human. You swallow back disgust for yourself and others, you die side by side with Lazarescu, and you're reborn the better for it.
The Death of Mr Lazarescu is, to use a well-deserved cliché, a labour of love. The script, the acting, the ideas, the timing, the lighting, the angles - it all works. And no amount of art-house awards or Oscar ignorance can take away the impact that this masterful composition has. Is Puiu the next Kieslowski? Will the rest of the films in the series be as great? Can an intelligent filmmaker reach out to the general public? We'll see.
Bogdan Tiganov - author of The Wooden Tongue Speaks- Romanians: Contradictions & Realities
Give your film a handsome, eloquent old man with cancer and everyone feels sorry for him. Here, the main character is alternately stubborn, passive and confused as he is sent from hospital to hospital, and it's suggested his drinking may be at least partly responsible for his illness. Poor Mr Lazarescu doesn't live up to the expectations of one other reviewer here, but for those who appreciate a protaganist who reflects our own likely failings, rather than an idealised version of ourselves, Mr L is more sympathetic than any Tom Cruise or George Clooney hero.
This complexity also extends to the other characters. The medical staff Lazarescu encounters treat him with often horrifying disrespect, but rather than make them wantonly callous, they are given some justification by swamping them with the fall out of a massive car accident, (what would be the focus of most pics plays out in the background in extremely effective fashion).
Being forced to respond in a nuanced way like this is deeply rewarding, as any fan of great TV like The Wire will tell you, and Mr Lazarescu has a similar power to make you forget you are watching a film at all. The cast give uniformly excellent, naturalistic performances.
And yes, the film is funny, not in the unsparing depiction of illness and mortality, but the early part of the film, in which very little actually happens, which has plenty of gentle, observational comedy reminiscent of Mike Leigh or Lukas Moodysson as Lazarescu's neighbours interact.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This film manages to be both deeply moving, as Mr Lazarescus' condition deteriorates and comical too. Much like life really. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mrs. B. Johnson
This film is marketed as a black comedy but I found it anything but funny. A grim but powerful account of arrogance and the lack of respect for the elderly or those... Read morePublished 9 months ago by RoyJP
excellent film, funny and witty but also tragic. Excellent acting, very unusual, truly a comic masterpiecePublished 23 months ago by Ms. Z. Karimova
This is falsely advertised as a dark comedy. It is NOT. It is a drama.
It plods along and along with no story or particular plot whatsoever then finished randomly in the... Read more
I don't normally review films but this is the exception. I loved this film. It was brilliantly done. Read morePublished on 30 Aug. 2014 by Alison MacRae
This movie is set in Roumania.It could be anywhere. See how the old man is dehumanised for being a drunk by all those he seeks help from. Sad.Published on 2 Jun. 2014 by FRANKIEZ
This is meant to be funny - all I can say that I don't share the writer's/film maker's sense of humour. Read morePublished on 8 Jan. 2014 by Book fiend
This film will make you laugh or smile, even laugh at first, at the character of the title, a brilliant portrayal of resignation, and lack of expectation, from the fine actor Ion... Read morePublished on 24 April 2013 by Beetleypete