Romanian director Pintilie, who irked communists, dead at 84

FILE- In this May 15, 1996 file photo, Romanian director Lucian Pintilie, center, poses with actors Razvan Vasilescu, left, and Cecilia Barbora before the presentation of his movie "Too Late" at the 49th International Cannes Film Festival. Romanian director and filmmaker Lucian Pintilie who emigrated after falling out with the communists and then made a career in France and the U.S. has died, aged 84. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere, File)

BUCHAREST, Romania — Romanian theater director and filmmaker Lucian Pintilie, who emigrated after falling out with the communists and then made a career in France and the U.S., has died. He was 84.

The Elias Hospital in Bucharest said Pintilie, who inspired generations of Romanian actors, died late Wednesday after being admitted at the weekend.

U.S. theater director Andrei Serban, who was born in Romania, told Pintilie last year: "You were the first person to give me the courage right from the start, that with courage and theater you can do anything."

Pintilie directed plays at the prestigious Bulandra Theater in Bucharest in the '60s and early 70s. However, his work was censored by the communists and one film was personally banned by Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu.

That film, "Reenactment," considered a Romanian classic, was released in 1968 and withdrawn shortly afterward. It was screened in Cannes in 1970 to critical acclaim and shown again in Romania in 1990 shortly after communism ended.

Based on a Romanian novel depicting real-life events, the movie illustrates the incompetence and abuse of power by some officials. It tells of two delinquents embroiled in a drunken brawl who are detained by a prosecutor who then releases them on the condition that they re-enact their fight in a restaurant for an educational film.

After leaving Romania, Pintilie moved to France and directed plays at the Theatre National de Chaillot and the Theatre de la Ville in Paris, where he staged Henrik Ibsen's "The Wild Duck" and Anton Chekhov's "Three Sisters."

Pintilie also directed operas in France, Britain and Italy and plays at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and the Arena Stage in Washington.

Pintilie was married to Romanian actress Clody Bertola for 42 years. She died in 2007. Funeral plans were not immediately known.

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A version of this story has been corrected to show that Pintilie died Wednesday, not Thursday.

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