22 March 2010

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu, 2006, Romania)

Mr. Lazarescu hasn't been feeling so well today. In the evening he calls for an ambulance, which arrives after a relatively long time. He needs medical attention pretty badly but there's been a big bus accident and the hospitals are swamped. They're also full of unfeeling, unqualified people, it seems, though they also have great employees. He's escorted throughout the night by an EMT nurse, rough around the edges but well-intentioned. The title pretty much tells you what the whole movie is about but it's so much more entertaining and thrilling and beautiful than I had expected. I also expected it to be very much about the failings of the Romanian healthcare system but most of what you'll see here could be translated to any city in America. This is the kind of foreign movie that should be remade in America, given our own healthcare crises. The actress who plays the nurse is pretty amazing. There are so many interesting details in this story. It's not only about more than the Romanian hospital system, it felt like it touched on many other facets of life. It's time for my bedtime but I'm really glad I finally watched this. It's not as dour and punishing as it sounds. Highly entertaining and also very beautiful. I highly recommend this movie. A

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