Critic Alex Leo Serban dies

A prominent voice for Romanian cinema

Alex Leo Serban, the most internationally prominent Romanian film critic as well as a visual artist, literary critic and essayist, died April 9 in Bucharest of lymphatic cancer. He was 51.

Serban served as a mentor to the young filmmakers of the Romanian new wave.

For the past five years he had been the special guest of the Romanian Film Festival in New York, and the 2011 edition will be dedicated to his memory. He was also an active international voice on behalf of Romanian cinema with many American organizations and attended the Cannes, Berlin and Venice film festivals on a regular basis. His articles appeared in such publications as Cahiers du Cinema and Cover magazine.

Film Society of Lincoln Center director Richard Pena said, “The entire staff of the Film Society of Lincoln Center is deeply saddened by the passing of our good friend, Alex Leo Serban. A frequent visitor to the New York Film Festival and our other programs, Leo was always as much a joy to be with as he was incredibly perceptive about cinema.”

He was a panelist at Lincoln Center in 1996 and was a jury member of the Intl. Federation of Film Critics in London in 1998.

In Romania, he wrote a weekly column for the Dilema Veche and Libertatea publications. He also taught at the Film and Theater Academy in Bucharest and translated into Romanian poet W.H. Auden and writer Samuel Beckett. He wrote, in collaboration with Mihai Chirilov and Stefan Balan, the book “Lars von Trier: filmele, femeile, fantomele” (Lars von Trier: The Films, The Women, The Ghosts).