The Death of Mr. Lazarescu - Moartea domnului Lăzărescu (2005) dir. Cristi Puiu
Dante Remus Lăzărescu is deathly ill, but he can't get treated. He is shuffled from hospital to hospital, each place with doctors who don't believe there's much wrong with him; other than being a smelly, drunk old man, of course. Then, as soon as they learn he's about to die, they shuffle him off to another hospital.
The humor comes from an entirely new realm of dryness. The film is shot it the hand-held, lo-fi style that Europeans have been awfully fond of for quite a while. It's believable as a documentary. There is no overacting, no hints that it is a comedy at all. Lazarescu is a comedy in the way that Kafka's The Trial is a comedy, except Lazrescu is more believable.
Yes, he is sent away because the hospitals are understaffed and underfunded. But this is not a political film. The doctors delay their examinations for a panoply of reasons - displaying arrogance, losing a cell phone, flirting with the nurse, and (in a running gag) lecturing Lăzărescu on his drinking. Even before he gets to the hospital, his neighbors take their time calling for an ambulance. They're in the middle of making dinner, and this doesn't seem to be the first time Lăzărescu has shown up "sick" with alcohol on his breath.
There's no one really to blame for the death of Mr. Lăzărescu. No program to create, no virtue to promote and no vice to condemn.
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is #850 on the TSPDT 1,000 list I’m blogging through. I’ve now seen 405.