Born on July 7, 1923, Liviu Ciulei studied theatre at the Royal Conservatory of Music and Theatre in Bucharest and went on to study architecture. He made his debut as an actor in 1946, as Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Bucharest’s Odeon Theatre. He then joined the Bucharest City Theatre, now the “Bulandra” Theatre, where he made his debut as a director in 1957, staging Richard Nash’s “The Rainmaker”.
Liviu Ciulei’s spectacular career includes over 20 films, which he worked on as a director, actor or writer, as well as countless theatrical productions in which he was involved as director, actor or stage designer, which were awarded prestigious distinctions throughout the years.
His experience as a director, actor, stage designer and writer was compounded by the expertise he acquired as an artistic director, a position he held for ten years at Bucharest’s “Bulandra” Theatre, and, later on, at the “Tyrone Guthrie” Theatre in Minneapolis. Liviu Ciulei was also appointed the honorary director of the “Bulandra” Theatre and taught drama at two prestigious American universities: Columbia University and New York University.
The distinctions awarded to Liviu Ciulei throughout his career include the Best Director Award at Cannes, in 1965, for “Forest of the Hanged”, the Crystal Globe in the 1969 edition of the Karlovy Vary Festival, for “Waves of the Danube”, the 1996 UNITER Award, the 2001 UNITER Honorary Award, the 2002 Award for Excellence in Romanian Cinema. Liviu Ciulei was also an honorary member of the Order of Architects.