Liviu Ciulei, 88; directed film and theater in Romania, Minnesota

bob glass/new york times
Liviu Ciulei directed a play rehearsal at the Juilliard School in 1977. He made more than 20 movies as an actor or director.

BUCHAREST, Romania - Liviu Ciulei, a Romanian film and theater director whose career spanned 50 years and included a top award at the Cannes Film Festival, has died. He was 88.

Mr. Ciulei died Monday night at a hospital in Munich, where he lived, said Romanian actor Ion Caramitru.

“An era has died! A genius had died!’’ said Caramitru, who heads Romania’s UNITER theater union. “Without Liviu Ciulei, there would be no Romanian theater.’’


No cause of death was given.

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As an actor, director, and set designer, Mr. Ciulei was the most influential figure of Romanian theater and film in a generation.

He won the Palme d’Or award at Cannes in 1965 for the film “The Forest of the Hanged,’’ and he made more than 20 movies, both as an actor and a director.

President Traian Basescu of Romania paid homage to Mr. Ciulei yesterday, saying he belonged to an “elite generation’’ that created a “valuable and original’’ drama school, both in Romania and abroad. He called Mr. Ciulei’s artistic vision “classic and modern, extremely clear and contemporary.’’

Mr. Ciulei studied theater and architecture in Bucharest and began his acting career in 1946 as the character Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’’ He began to direct in 1957.


For 10 years he was artistic director at Bucharest’s prestigious Bulandra Theater.

From 1980 to 1985, he held the same position at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

In 1982, the theater received a Tony Award for its outstanding contribution to the American Theater. Mr. Ciulei drew national and international attention to the theater and its productions, the organization says on its website.

After that, Mr. Ciulei taught at Columbia University and New York University.