The “Medal of Honour” thespian will be 78 on Thursday.
Just one week after Florin Piersic had his name engraved upon a star on a local Walk of Fame project, it is popular actor Victor Rebengiuc’s turn to receive this honour. To celebrate the actor’s birthday, city officials, together with Metropolis Theatre will on February 10 unveil the actor’s star in Piata Timpului, in downtown Bucharest.
“Victor Rebengiuc is a human being who succeeded in combining with success art, craftsmanship and the truth. This star is in recognition of the fact that every time he acts, onstage or on the silver screen, he unveils a universe of humanity and emotion,” Metropolis manager George Ivascu wrote in his acknowledgement note.
The same day, the beloved actor will be celebrated by the public and his colleagues in a special event at the Peasant Museum, where one of his most iconic films, “Morometii” will be screened.
With a career spanning on more than five decades in both theatre and cinema, Rebengiuc is an award-winning artist also known as a civil society activist. Since 1957, he has been a Bulandra Theatre regular performer, with more than 200 roles on that stage alone. His breakthrough in cinema came with the Romanian classic directed by legendary Liviu Ciulei, “The Forest of the Hanged,” based on the popular novel written by Liviu Rebreanu.
The film earned Ciulei the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival and was received with standing ovations at the Acapulco Film Festival in Mexico. Thirty-six years after, Rebengiuc acknowledged that the film was his breakthrough and most important role and recalled his “angelic face” had initially been judged unsatisfactory by Ciulei, but he managed to convince during casting.
Ever since he became known to the public, Rebengiuc established himself as one of the leading actors of his generation, and won praise for both his technique and natural ability. Philosopher and critic Andrei Plesu writes: “Victor Rebengiuc can act magnificently in any role, for he never acts in the role of ‘the artist’. The only ‘signal’ of his specific involvement is, perhaps, the unmistakable crystal-like nature of his speech, the break-through diction. Victor Rebengiuc’s talent stems, most of all, from a certain cult for the truth and a most rare ability for what is natural.” The actor acknowledges having a fear for improvisation, and recounts having prepared himself intensely for each of his roles.
The most recent performance that brought him critics’ and public’s recognition was in Calin Peter Netzer’s acclaimed “Medal of Honour.” Rebengiuc has also been celebrated for his stage performances, appearing in plays directed by, among others, Liviu Ciulei, Radu Penciulescu, Andrei Serban, Catalina Buzoianu, Yuri Kordonsky, Gabor Tompa and Alexandru Dabija.
Rebengiuc’s life under the communist regime provided him an anti-communist perspective, and some of his 1980s films were censored or banned by the country’s officials. In 1989, he became involved with the Romanian Revolution, when he was among the people who stormed into the Romanian Television building and broadcast the downfall of Nicolae Ceausescu and an end to communist rule. Rebengiuc subsequently spoke out against political forces he believes stand for the regime’s legacy in modern society, and called for the retrospective condemnation of communism.