Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5
Original title: Moartea Domnului Lazarescu
Romania, 2005. Mandragora. Screenplay by Cristi Puiu, Razvan Radulescu. Cinematography by Andrei Butica, Oleg Mutu. Produced by Bobby Paunescu. Music by Andreea Paduraru. Production Design by Cristina Barbu. Costume Design by Cristina Barbu. Film Editing by Dana Bunescu. European Film Awards 2005. Toronto International Film Festival 2005.
A Bucharest hypochondriac spends most of his time indoors, working himself up into a frenzy about his slightest aches and pains. On one particular evening he calls the paramedics after deciding that he feels seriously ill, and sets himself up for a hellish nightmare of being passed around from hospital to hospital all night, his health going southward quickly as his panic increases. This slice of social realism is graced with incredibly strong performances and a pace that recreates the natural rhythms of real life, but its dedication to realism also keeps it from being particularly compelling. Those with an inclination to this type of cinema, and the dry humour that it engenders, will enjoy it very much, while others will be frustrated with how long it takes to get going and will be bored.