Death of Mr. Lazarescu
  • Death of Mr. Lazarescu
  • Death of Mr. Lazarescu

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

Director: Cristi Puiu

Cast: Cristi Puiu, Ion Fiscuteanu, Luminita Gheorghiu, Doru Ana


Mr. Lazarescu (Ion Fiscuteanu) is not feeling well. He has a bad headache and has been vomiting. He feels that it is something more serious than the pain caused by his ulcer and the hangovers caused by his regular excessive drinking. He calls for an ambulance, and after convincing the skeptical dispatcher that he is not simply drunk, he begins the long wait for help…  See more details below


Mr. Lazarescu (Ion Fiscuteanu) is not feeling well. He has a bad headache and has been vomiting. He feels that it is something more serious than the pain caused by his ulcer and the hangovers caused by his regular excessive drinking. He calls for an ambulance, and after convincing the skeptical dispatcher that he is not simply drunk, he begins the long wait for help to arrive. Eventually, he visits his neighbors, Sandu (Doru Ana) and Miki (Dana Dogaru), in search of stronger pain relievers. They are busy and reluctant to help him, but eventually realize that something may be seriously wrong with the smelly old drunkard. Sandu takes him back to his apartment, and, later, the paramedic, Mioara (Luminita Gheorghiu), finally arrives. After ascertaining that Lazarescu has been drinking to excess, she considers giving him an aspirin and going on her way, but a quick examination shows that the old man is in severe pain, and Mioara begins to suspect that he is gravely ill. Thus begins a long, unpleasant journey from one hospital to another, as Lazarescu faces a backlog of patients caused by a massive traffic accident, and the cold indifference of arrogant doctors who appear hesitant to cure a man who has seemingly destroyed his own health. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu was co-written and directed by Rumanian filmmaker Cristi Puiu. It was shown at the 2005 New York Film Festival, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
Stylistically, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu -- Romanian director Cristi Puiu's document of one man's bleak trek through the inadequacies and weaknesses of the Bucharest medical system -- is an unmitigated triumph. Puiu ingeniously shoots the film with handheld cinematography and low-budget stock and lighting that give it a raw documentary feel, and employs a temporally and spatially unified narrative that force-feeds the audience the graphic physiological and emotional turmoil of the central character, Lazarescu Dante Remus. Puiu is thus able to use these devices to generate automatic empathy and emotional attachment on a tonal level. And such are all towering strengths. That we actually become emotionally invested in Remus is a testament to the wondrous skill with which Puiu crafted the film. On the opposite side of the coin, however, the picture provides strikingly little joy and relief; it becomes unbearably depressing to watch Lazarescu get shuttled from one medical facility to another as he pukes, moans, and ultimately descends into complete dementia -- all to the chauvinistic insensitivity of the medical personnel around him. Puiu probably believed that his occasional doses of black comedy would compensate for the film's disturbing material (much as the visceral, graphic discussion of bodily functions and the gallows humor offset each other in the literature of Jan Wolkers). But whereas Wolkers is clever and inventive, and never jokes at the expense of his characters, Puiu's attempts at humor -- many generated by an insensitive, bearded Romanian doctor -- feel alternately cruel and mean. (That is, unless you find it funny to see a physician lean over into the face of a bloodied patient with a severe cranial injury and scream out a query about whether his head still aches, and then pound violently on the stomach of another patient whose liver is ready to burst.) All told, many assets of Lazarescu are magnificent, but by their very nature, they make this a much easier picture to admire than to actually enjoy.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Tartan Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Interview with the director; Perspective on the U.S. healthcare system by Dr. Fred Berlin; Booklet featuring:; The New York Times film article by Alan Riding; Cinemascope interview with the director by Christoph Huber; English subtitles

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ion Fiscuteanu Dante Lazarescu
Luminita Gheorghiu Mioara
Doru Ana Sandu Sterian
Dana Dogaru Mihaela Sterian
Serban Pavlu Gelu
Gabriel Spahiu Leo
Florin Zamfirescu Doctor Ardelean
Bogdan Dumitrache Medic at Spitalul Sf Spiridon
Dragos Bucur Misu
Dan Chiriac Trial Medic at Spitalul University
Clara Voda Doctor Gina Filip
Adrian Titieni Doctor Dragos Popescu
Mihai Bratila Doctor Breslasu
Monica Barladeanu Mariana
Mimi Branescu Doctor Mirica
Alina Berzunteanu Doctor Zamfir
Simona Popescu Assistant at Spitalul Bagdasar
Mirela Cioaba Marioara
Dorian Boguta Ambulance Driver
Robert Bumbes Robert
Laura Cret Echograph Medic at Spitalul Sf Spiridon
Alexandru Fifeu Virgil, Stretcher Carrier, Spitalul Sf Spiridon
Florina Alina Gleznea Assistant at Spitalul Sf Spiridon
Tidor Hristescu Doctor Kelemen
Rodica Ionescu Assistant at Spitalul Universitar
Cerasela Iosifescu Assistant at Assistant at Spitalul Filaret
Irina Kozsar Assistant at Spitalul Universitar
Rodica Lazar Assistant at Spitalul Filaret
Alexandru Cristian Potocean Stretcher Carrier at Spitalul Bagdasar
Calin Adrian Puiu Stretcher Carrier at Spitalul Bagdasar
Anca Puiu Vecina
Emil Puiu DL Sandu
Iuliana Puiu Dna Sandu
Smaranda Puiu Smarandu
Jean Lorin Sterian Medic at Spitalul Universitar
Marian Stoica Patient of Spitalul Sf Spiridon
Maria Serb Assistant at Spitalul Bagdasar
Andrei Serban Stretcher Carrier at Spital of SF Spiridon
Cristian Turungiu Ionel Zaharia Stretcher Carrier, Spitalul Universitars
Lorena-Andrada Zabrautanu Assistant at Spitalul Universitar
Mircea Dinescu Actor
Radu Moraru Actor
Adriana Muraru Actor

Technical Credits
Cristi Puiu Director,Screenwriter
Cristina Barbu Costumes/Costume Designer
Silvana Bratu Makeup Special Effects
Dana Bunescu Editor
Andrei Butica Camera Operator
Georgiana Creanga Makeup
Constantin Fleancu Sound/Sound Designer
Tidor Hristescu Production Manager
Alexandru Munteanu Executive Producer
Oleg Mutu Cinematographer
Andreea Paduraru Score Composer
Razvan Radulescu Screenwriter
Maria Savulescu Makeup
Ana Szel Casting
Cristian Tarnovetchi Sound/Sound Designer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Death of Mr. Lazarescu
1. The Ambulance Call [15:47]
2. Still Waiting [6:45]
3. Good Neighbors [12:08]
4. The Journey Begins [11:44]
5. Moving Lazarescu [10:49]
6. If You're Not Bleeding, You're Not Injured [12:27]
7. Passing the Time [3:39]
8. No Vacancy [4:05]
9. Second Opinion, Same Diagnosis [18:57]
10. The Brain Scan [14:54]
11. The Specialist [7:53]
12. Double Standards [11:14]
13. The Fuss Is Over [14:03]
14. End Credits [3:17]


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