`Death' connects by focusing on dignity

review A

July 07, 2006|By MICHAEL SRAGOW | MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu runs the same 2 1/2 hours as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, but what a difference a comic-dramatic purpose makes.

The title of this Romanian heartbreaker echoes "The Death of Ivan Illyich," Leo Tolstoy's great short story. "Ivan Illyich's life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible," wrote Tolstoy. The same goes for Lazarescu Dante Remus (Ioan Fiscuteanu), a solitary 63-year-old in a Bucharest suburb, occupying an apartment filled with dusty newspapers and hairy cats. The movie follows him one fateful Saturday night when he attempts to get medical help after a day of crippling headaches, nausea and stomach pains.

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Tartan) Starring Ioan Fiscuteanu and Luminita Gheorghiu. Directed by Cristi Puiu. Rated R. Time 153 minutes.

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