The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

Release Date: April 26, 2006
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Limited release

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24/76 Dan Krovich The intentionally deliberate pace eventually wears on you in this admirable effort.

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Mr. Lazarescu is a 63-year-old Romanian who lives in a block of flats with his three cats, Nusu, Mirandolina and Fritz. His wife passed away eight years in the past and since that time, his daughter Bianca has moved far away to Canada. One Saturday night, Mr. Lazarescu starts to feel ill and calls for an ambulance to assist him. As he waits for the paramedics to show up on the scene, he attempts to treat his own symptoms with medicine from his own supply. Unfortunately, he doesn't have enough of the pills he needs. He heads to a neighbor's home.

Despite being able to smell alcohol on Mr. Lazarescu's breath, neighbors Sandu and Miki go ahead and give him some medication. They believe that the man simply is suffering from a hangover/headache, but realize that they are way, way off when he throws up blood. At last, the paramedic arrives and she also smells the alcohol. She treats Mr. Lazarescu by giving him some glucose and vitamins. Alerted to the more serious situation, though, she gives him a more detailed examination and decides that he may be suffering from a tumor on his colon. She decides to take him to the hospital.

Once at the hospital, however, the ER doctors see a car crash with multiple casualties as their primary priority. Since one of the doctors has no desire to admit an alcoholic during this troubled time, the ambulance driver is sent to take Mr. Lazarescu to a different location. Although it at first appeared that Mr. Lazarescu's case would be nothing more than a simple, routine admission to a hospital, the situation soon becomes horrifying. The patient's health is quickly deteriorating, and the paramedic must drive from location to location in Bucharest to try to uncover someone who can offer the man some help.

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu was a buzz film at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, winning its director the Un Certain Regard Award. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
Main Cast Ioan Fiscuteanu, Luminita Gheorghiu, Mimi Branescu
Supporting Cast Dana Dogaru, Florin Zamfirescu, Mihai Bratila, Monica Barladeanu
Director Cristi Puiu
Screenwriter Cristi Puiu
Distributor Tartan Films
Running Time 150 minutes
Screen Count 1
Awards Awards page for The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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