Offspring of Ion Filotti-Cantacuzino and Elena Warthiadi (1912-2001)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Gheorghe I. Cantacuzino (1937) 1937 Bucharest, Romania Călina Brătăşanu (1943-1977)
Maria Ioana Popescu (c1945)
Cristina Colfescu (c1945)
Șerban Cantacuzino (1941-2011) 4 February 1941 Bucharest, Romania 4 July 2011 Paris, France Simona Romașcan (1941)

Ion Filotti Cantacuzino or Ion I. Cantacuzino (b. November 7, 1908, Bucharest, Romania, d. August 27, 1975, Bucharest, Romania) was a Romanian film producer, film producer, writer and psychiatrist.

Biographic data

Ion Filotti Cantacuzino, born in Bucharest on November 7, 1908, was the son of prince Ion Cantacuzino and of actress Maria Filotti.[1][2] He studied medicine at the Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy and philosophy at the University of Bucharest. He then continued his studies in Paris and graduated from the University of Paris' Faculty of Sciences and Faculty of Medicine,[3]

He married Elena Warthiadi and had two sons: historian Gheorghe I. Cantacuzino and actor Şerban Cantacuzino.

Activity as writer and film critic

His first publication is the short story “De Amore Paradox” published first in 1929 in the magazine “Excelsior”. It was reprinted as a separate volume in 1935 with 18 illustrations by W. Siegfried. Interested in cinematography he started his activity as film critic in 1931 when he was appointed by "Radio România" and started the first broadcast critics in Romania. He also contributed with film critics to various Romanian magazines.

In 1934 he also wrote his first screenplay for a documentary film "Romania" - directed by Paul Călinescu and Jean Mihail.

In 1935 he published his first volume about films: "The Fairytale factory" (Romanian: Uzina de basme)[4] The same year, he published his only play "Dri-dri" which was awarded the prize of the "Society of Romanian Dramaturgists" (Societatea Autorilor Dramatici Români) for one-act plays.

Film producer and director

In 1941, Ion Cantacuzino was appointed director of the "National Office of Cinematography" which had been created in the late 1930s. The main activity of the Office was to release newsreels about the World War 2. Besides coordinating the activity of the office, Ion Cantacuzino wrote the screenplays, directed and produced documentaries having cultural subjects: "The Peleş Castle" (Castelul Peleş) - 1941 or "Old Customs" (Datini din străbuni) - 1942 or related to the war: "Romania in war against bolshevism" (România în lupta contra bolşevismului) - 1941, "Our sacred war" (Războiul nostru sfânt) - 1942, "We" (Noi) - 1942.

Ion Cantacuzino's ambitions were however related to the production of feature films. In 1943 he produced the film "Stormy Night" (O noapte furtunoasă), a comedy based on a play by Ion Luca Caragiale directed by Jean Georgescu. He then created the Romanian-Italian film production and distribution company "Cineromit". The first coproduction was "Odessa in Flames" (Odessa in fiamme) directed by Carmine Gallone on a screenplay by Gherardo Gherardi and Nicolae Kiriţescu. The next production of "Cineromit" was scheduled to be produced in Romania. A second film, "The white squadron" (Squadriglia bianca), directed by Romanian director Ion Sava was released in 1944. The same year, Ion Cantacuzino, as producer, selected Jean Georgescu to direct the film "A Winter Night's Dream" (Visul unei nopţi de iarnă) based on a play by Tudor Muşatescu. Due to the war, the film could be completed only in 1945. Another project which Ion Cantacuzino was negotiating with the Italians was a historical drama on the life of Stephen the Great, based on a screenplay by Camil Petrescu, starring Amedeo Nazzari and Alida Valli. This project had to be abandoned due to the war.

Ion Cantacuzino was also planning to create, in cooperation with the Italians a center for the production of feature films in Romania. The plans for the construction of the center had been designed by architect Octav Doicescu and the Italian government had promised to provide the equipment. The project could not be finalized due to the war.[5][6]

Activity after 1945

After the rise to power of the communist regime in Romania, Ion Cantacuzino was blacklisted, because of both his aristocratic background and his antisoviet attitude during the war years. He reverted to his second profession and worked as a psychiatrist. Working as a physician he was arrested because he had treated a legionnaire patient without reporting this to the authorities. He was arrested in 1950 and sentenced to prison for "conspiracy against the Romanian social order". He served part of his sentence in the Jilava prison and was released only due to the intervention of his mother, actress [[Maria Filotti (1883-1956). The following year he was again arrested and interrogated, being accused of "crimes against humanity" [7]

After his release he worked for the rest of his life as a psychiatrist at the "Brâncovenesc Hospital" in Bucharest.

However, he did not give up his activities related to the entertainment industry. He translatated various plays for theatrical performances such as Eduardo De Filippo's Filumena Marturano and George Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House.[8]

In the 1960s, without abandoning his profession as psychiatrist, Ion Cantacuzino was able to publish again. He finalized the volumes of memoirs which his mother, actress Maria Filotti had not been able to complete before her death.[9] He also wrote a book on the history of Romanian cinema "Moments from the past of Romanian film" (1965).[10]


Ion Filotti Cantacuzino died on August 27, 1975. He is enterred at Bellu Cemetery in Bucharest.

After his death a last film was produced based on one of his screenplays: "The insane forest" (Pădurea nebună), released in 1982, based on a novel by Zaharia Stancu.

In his memory, the "Association of Film Critics" has named "Ion Cantacuzino Award" its distinction for film journalism at the "International Festival for Independent Film Anonimul" organized each year in Sfântu Gheorghe.


  1. ^ Cantacuzino Family
  2. ^ Romanian Aristocratic Families
  3. ^ IMDb - Biography for Ion Cantacuzino
  4. ^ Desene animate
  5. ^ Brătescu, Gheorghe – Odessa în flăcări – Clipa No. 643, March 25, 2004
  6. ^ CINEROMIT – le rêve de la Cinecittà roumaine – 1941–1946
  7. ^ [ Daniela Cârlea Şontică - Ion Cantacuzino, 100 de ani de la naştere - Jurnalul Naţional, 30 noiembrie 2008
  8. ^ cIMeC - Institutul de Memorie Culturală Bucureşti
  9. ^ Lansare în premieră a memoriilor actriţei Maria Filotti - România Liberă, November 5, 2007
  10. ^ Magdalena Popa - Între teatru şi comorile lumii aş alege teatrul - Adevărul literar si artistic, November 11, 2007


Footnotes (including sources)