Monday, March 19, 2007

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)

****
Romania

Mr. Lazarescu's first name is Dante and he is a sixty-something-year-old who must travel through the three circles of the Romanian health care system if he is to live through the night. However, it isn't Alighieri's poet but Franz Kafka's Josef K who is Mr. Lazarescu's true soul brother. And it is the same absurdist but terrifyingly vivid concept of Eastern European bureaucracy that informs both Kafka's fiction and director Cristi Puiu's much-lauded horror comedy. Puiu observes Lazarescu's night-long odyssey through Bucharest's inert hospitals with uncanny documentary-style detail, with Luminita Gheorghiu's initially despondent but increasingly partisan ambulance nurse representing a paralyzed glimmer of conscience in a dehumanised system.

dir: Cristi Puiu
wr: Cristi Puiu, Razvan Radulescu
ph: Andrei Butica, Oleg Mutu
cast: Ion Fiscuteanu, Luminita Gheorgiu, Gabriel Spahiu, Doru Ana, Dara Dogaru, Serban Pavlu, Florin Zamfirescu, Clara Voda, Adrian Titieni, Mihai Bratila, Monica Barladeanu

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