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Premier Victor Ponta paid a last tribute to film director Sergiu Nicolaescu, at the National Military Center, Friday, pointing out that the moment will stay with him forever when he attended in December of last year the inauguration ceremony of a cinema theater in Targu-Jiu bearing the director’s name. Romania’s former president Ion Iliescu, too, was present at the National Military Center on Friday.
Film director Sergiu Nicolaescu was incinerated with military honors at the Vitan Barzesti crematory in Bucharest, Saturday around noontime. The ceremony was attended by the family of the deceased, friends and people close to him, among whom former president Ion Iliescu. No Romanian Orthodox Church priest was on site to officiate the incineration religious service.It was the late film director’s wish to be cremated. Sergiu Nicolaescu died on Thursday, who died Thursday at age 82. His wife, Dana Nicolaescu, said on Thursday that it was her husband’s “express wish” to be cremated, which she respected, and urged the press to treat the event “with the decency and respect due to tragic event” of her husband’s death.Sergiu Nicolaescu’s body lay in state at the Vitan Barzesti Crematory Bucharest on Saturday from 11.20 am and until the cremation ceremony took place. A couple hundred people came to attend the ceremony, yet only a few did it, among whom his family and friends, including director Ioan Carmazan and former president Ion Iliescu.Sergiu Nicolaescu was incinerated with military honors. “This was the last act of the farewell ceremonies for Sergiu Nicolaescu. I believe that it is the people who showed the best appreciation and the best way of honouring him. There were lots of people both yesterday and today morning, who wished to say farewell to Sergiu Nicolaescu. For a public person and artist such as him, a great creator, there couldn’t be greater joy than this. He is known to have served a cause praised by many. And that since he made films for the people, the masses, the Romanian people. The best way of honoring was the way the people insisted on bidding farewell to him,” Ion Iliescu said after the cremation ceremony. While the former president was speaking, a few people around shouted “shame”, expressing their dissatisfaction of the director having been incinerated and not buried. Referring to the issue, Ion Iliescu said it is “one’s option” whether to be incinerated or buried. “It is a person’s business or their family to decide. Where does this mentality come from, that it is a must…. even the Holy Scripture quote saying ‘must return to the earth’? What does earth mean? When a sailor dies at sea, he is buried at sea, and he also goes into the earth. And if they are incinerated and the ashes are scattered, I think that they go back into the earth, too,” Ion Iliescu said, tears in his eyes. However, vocal reaction was rather vehement, with shouts of “shame” being heard from the people gathered near the crematorium when Sergiu Nicolaescu’s wife left the crematory building.The day before cremation, Friday, Premier Victor Ponta paid his last respects to director Sergiu Nicolaescu, who was lying in state at the National Military Center, pointing out the moment will stay with him forever when he attended in December of last year the inauguration ceremony of a cinema theater in Targu-Jiu bearing the director’s name. Former president Ion Iliescu, also on Friday, paid his last tribute to Sergiu Nicolaescu, whom he described as the “principal creator in the Romanian cinematography”, as well as a “man deeply linked to the fabric of the Romanian people”.Sergiu Nicolaescu’s family has not made an official announcement on where the director’ ashes will be laid. According to statements made by Iolanda Nicolaescu, the director’s sister, the ashes could be provisionally laid to rest at the Bellu Cemetery in Bucharest, and then, they could be moved to the family’s tomb at the Targu-Jiu Cemetery.