Special Screening "Sofia's Last Ambulance" at the Ambulance Service

13 March, 14:00

Bucharest Ambulance Service, 226 Mihai Eminescu Str.

Bulgaria / Germany / Croatia, 2012, 75'

Ilian Metev


English, Romanian

Admission is free of charge. After the film there will be a debate with the audience. Participant: Cristian Vasile Gresu, President of the Ambulance Association in Bucharest.


The Health of the Health System: We are tired of the endless, fruitless talks about the failures of our medical system. Can a good film make any difference? We think so, since at the core of this issue may be our loss of compassion. Empathy is the essence of documentary: watching and listening to people in order to understand them better. Looking at the Bulgarian case is helpful: it makes our own disappointment appear more manageable.

We never see the patients. There is no voice-over, and no facts and figures are provided. The three cameras installed on the dashboard of the ambulance capture the reactions of the three team members working on one of the thirteen ambulances still active in Sofia, a city of almost 2 million. When they are not trying to talk somebody out of his drug addiction or to convince an injured six year old to sing on her way to the hospital, doctors Krassi and Mila, and driver Platen chain-smoke, chat about their love lives and lack of money, pick-up fruits off trees, and joke that they are heading for Italy while cursing the ‘potholes’ in the treacherous roads of Sofia. 

We gradually understand how much weight lies on these people’s shoulders and we see the strain of the work taking its toll on them. Filmed over two years, this absorbing piece of documentary cinema chronicles and celebrates three underpaid, overworked people who are making a difference in a country where a systemic collapse only allows room for temporary, individual solutions. In a film where most communication happens through facial expressions and snippets of conversations, you may feel that the story is always between the lines or beneath the surface. Beyond the urgency and the authenticity of the situations presented, you will discover the humanistic feel of The Death of Mr. Lazarescu.