THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU: A Kafka-esque parable that approaches the mythic.
Those dismayed by the state of American medicine might take heart from Romanian director Cristi Puiu’s depressing, fascinating, two-and-a-half-hour death watch. Sixty-two-year-old retired engineer Lazarescu Dante Remus (his brother-in-law’s name is Virgil) is burdened not just with a multi-referential name but with a drinking problem, bad health, money woes, and three cats. He wakes up Saturday with a headache and stomach pains, and starting with the judgmental attentions of his neighbors, he descends through the circles of the Romanian health-care inferno. An ambulance takes him to a series of Bucharest hospitals where he’s treated with contempt, annoyance, and indifference but also — especially from the crustily maternal paramedic who is his Chiron — compassion and competence. She’s the only one who tries to cut through the pettiness and vanity; of course she’s ignored. Puiu applies Frederick Wiseman’s style to a Kafka-esque parable; the result, though sometimes excessive, approaches the mythic.
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The Death Of Mr. Lazarescu's Web site:http://www.mrlazarescu.co.uk