[oberlist] Fwd: Farewell LIVIU CIULEI (1923 - 2011)

stefan rusu suhebator at gmail.com
Wed Oct 26 07:25:44 CEST 2011

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: ICR New York <icrny at icrny.org>
Date: Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 3:09 AM
Subject: Farewell LIVIU CIULEI (1923 - 2011)
To: icrny at icrny.org

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**Farewell LIVIU CIULEI (1923 – 2011)**

The Romanian Cultural Institute in ****New York**** is deeply saddened to
announce the passing of one of the masters of modern Romanian theatre and
film, LIVIU CIULEI (July 7, 1923 – October 25, 2011). Ciulei died on October
25th in a clinic in ****Munich**, **Germany****. He was 88. Long time
collaborator and star of the film *Forest of the Hanged*, Victor Rebengiuc
said he feels profoundly indebted to Ciulei: “Liviu Ciulei was a great
personality of the Romanian theatre and film. He created schools of theatre
and film, he created actors and wonderful performances. He was a good man
and a great artist of incredible modesty.”

Born on July 7, 1923, in ****Bucharest**, **Romania****, Liviu Ciulei was a
theater and film director, as well as film writer, actor, architect,
educator, costume and set designer. During a career spanning over 50 years,
he had a seminal influence on Romanian cinema and theater. Known for his
daring theatrical interpretations, he has distinctively marked the area of
performing arts inside ****Romania**** and abroad. He was described by *
Newsweek* as "one of the boldest and most challenging figures on the
international scene."

Ciulei studied architecture and theater at the Royal Conservatory of Music
and Theatre in ****Bucharest****. He made his theater debut, as an actor, in
1946, playing Puck in the Odeon Theatre production of William Shakespeare's
*A Midsummer Night's Dream*. Soon afterwards, he joined the theater company
of the Bucharest Municipal Theatre, later renamed Bulandra Theatre, where he
directed his first stage production in 1957 — *Rainmaker* by Richard Nash.

Between 1956 and 1957, his theatre directing work was also reinforced by a
series of consistent essays on directing and stage designing, in the context
of a national media debate around the modernization of theatrical
aesthetics. He continued to act for the stage and in films.

In 1961, Ciulei gained general acclaim and recognition as a theatre director
for his version of Shakespeare's *As You Like It.*  As a film director, he
won the *Crystal Globe for Best Director* at the 1960 Karlovy Vary Film
Festival with his second film, *The Danube Waves*, but it was with his third
feature, *Forest of the Hanged*, that he and Romanian cinema reached
widespread international recognition, receiving the *Best Director Award* at
the 1965 Cannes Film Festival. This was to be his last feature film as a
director. However he continued to appear in several films, as an actor,
until the end of the 1970s.

Ciulei was the artistic director of Bulandra Theatre for more than 10 years.
In the 70s he also worked in several European countries, the **United States
**, **Canada** and ****Australia****. In the **U.S.**, he first
directed *Leonce
and Lena* at The Arena Stage in ****Washington** **D.C.****, in 1974. During
the 70s he returned in the ****U.S.**** for several extremely notable
productions at The Arena Stage, The Juilliard Theatre Centre, Circle in the
Square, The Public Theatre and The Acting Company. As an example of Ciulei’s
mastery, in his review of Ciulei’s staging of *Hamlet *at The Arena Stage in
1978, *New York Post *critic Clive Barnes notes: “The man is a genius – a
word to be sparingly used. He sees “Hamlet” as a pattern of wills – and
grasps instantly that this classic Elizabethan revenge tragedy, a popular
dramatic form of Shakespeare’s day, derives its greatness from the fact that
destroyed hero is never actually revenged.“

In late '70s he was marginalized by the communist regime and transferred to
work at the Sahia Film studio, as a documentary filmmaker. In 1980 he fled *
***Romania**** with a motor vessel during the filming of a documentary about
the life of Romanian sailors.

After his arrival in the **U.S.**, Ciulei was the artistic director of the
Guthrie Theater in ****Minneapolis**, **Minnesota****, from 1980 to 1985,
creating memorable shows such as *The Tempest, Requiem for a Nun* or *Peer
Gynt*. During this time, the Guthrie won a Tony Award for its activity, in

Don Shewey profiled Ciulei (and noted that his name is pronounced "Leave-you
Chew-lay") for the New York Times in 1986: "In 1972 at the Bulandra Theater
in Bucharest, he presented a production of *The Inspector General,* Nikolai
Gogol's satire of bureaucratic government, that was taken rather too
personally by Romania's bureaucratic government. The production was closed
by censors, and Ciulei left the position he'd held for nine years as the
company's artistic director. When he was hired in 1980 to run the Guthrie
Theater, one of the oldest and largest regional theaters in America, he
inaugurated his regime with a startling production of *The Tempest* where
Prospero's kingdom was presented as an oasis surrounded by a moat of blood,
in which floated such cultural artifacts as a Venus de Milo, the Mona Lisa,
and a clock without hands. Last summer, having tendered his resignation
after only five years as the Guthrie's artistic director, Ciulei mounted his
bitter, frightening *Midsummer Night's Dream* in which Bottom's ragtag
troupe of players is humiliated by the indifferent response of its royal
audience – a reflection, perhaps, of Ciulei's own disappointment at the lack
of enthusiasm for adventurous theater in middle America. 'I think there is,
in this country, a certain prudence or refusal to be troubled, much
encouraged by TV,' he commented. 'Many people still want the theater to be
like a cool lemonade when it's hot.'"

Beginning with 1986, he taught at **Columbia** **University** and ****New
York** **University****. He kept staging work in the **U.S.** at The
Guthrie, at The Arena Stage, at the American Repertory Theatre, Seattle
Repertory Theatre, **Lincoln** **Center**, The Lyric Opera in
**Chicago**and also in Europe (where he did mostly operas in
**London**, **Amsterdam**, **Florence** or ****Cardiff****).

After the Romanian Revolution in 1989, Ciulei returned to
****Romania****and directed a series of stage productions that have
been both publicly and
critically acclaimed. He was named *Honorary Director* of the theatre he has
always loved the most, Bulandra, as a token of appreciation and respect for
his entire career. Besides being the costume and set designer of the
majority of his own productions, as an architect Ciulei contributed
decisively to the rebuilding of the auditorium of Bulandra Theatre, as well
as to important architectural work of other theater buildings. In 1996,
UNITER (the Romanian Theatre Union) awarded its annual prize to Ciulei, in
recognition of his overall work.

Liviu Ciulei passed away at age 88.

Honoring this outstanding Romanian personality, the Romanian Cultural
Institute in **New York** and the Film Society of Lincoln Center will
present a *Liviu Ciulei Retrospective* as part of the *6th Annual Romanian
Film Festival in New York*, which will take place between November 30 –
December 6 at the ****Lincoln** **Center****. **New York** audiences will
get a chance to see, for the first time in the **U.S.**, in new prints, all
the three films Liviu Ciulei directed – *Eruption, The Danube Waves* and ***
Forest**** of the Hanged.

*[Image: Liviu Ciulei starring in his 1964 film *Forest of the Hanged*]****

200 East 38th Street (at ****3rd Avenue****), ****New York**, **NY** **10016
Tel: 212-687-0180 - Fax: 212-687-0181
icrny at icrny.org; www.icrny.org****

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