I might not have watched many Romanian movies, yet the few that I’ve seen are so good that The Death of Mr. Lazarescu might earn the least cookies of ‘em all. Yet, I must add, it is still good enough to be called a brilliant work of art. There aren’t any surprise endings in this movie, the title is clear enough. As soon as the movie begins, we see a lonely, cat-loving, hard-drinking, and slightly grumpy but otherwise good natured old man, suffering an apparently not so serious bout stomach and headache. And thus starts a deeply distressing odyssey where the titular Mr. Lazarescu is shuttled from one hospital to another, as his aches slowly and gradually start taking life threatening proportions. Shot in real time, the movie is a marvelous albeit documentary-style look at an otherwise mundane and unspectacular person living in Bucharest, which, like any teeming metropolis, is filled with cynicism, red tapism, insensitivity and hopelessness. Like its Romanian New Wave contemporaries, the movie is filled with unflinching, grim realism, and yet contains subtle doses of black humour, pathos and a deep sense of humanism. This exceptionally detailed and brilliantly enacted slice of life is at once a subversive and a humanitarian social commentary.
Director: Cristi Puiu Genre: Drama/Slice of Life/Social Satire Language: Romanian Country: Romania