Thursday, April 25, 2024

In Memory of Cecile Insdorf


She was not particularly famous, unless you were part of New York’s film world and knew Dr. Cecile Insdorf, the constant companion of her daughter, Annette Insdorf, the Columbia University film teacher, critic, and journalist.

On Thursday, Cecile passed away. Dr. Insdorf, who was 88, was a beloved member of the Hunter College teaching staff, was an author and scholar who taught film and French literature. In 1977 she published “Montaigne and Feminism” with the University of North Carolina Press. She created the romance language Film Festival at Hunter College. She was also a Holocaust survivor.

In 2006, Cecile donated $100,000 to Hunter College and created the Cecile Insdorf Foreign Language Screening Room at the Chanin Center. Big name directors from all over the world knew and admired her from Pedro Almodovar to Peter Bogdanovich.

I tell you all this because for the last two decades, Cecile Insdorf has been a fixture on the New York film scene thanks to her daughter, Annette and her son-in-law Mark. For years until she was recently unable to make it, Cecile was their ‘plus 1.’ Rarely have a daughter and her husband been so devoted to a mother. And Cecile–elegant, eminently fashionable at all times, articulate about everything–so appreciated it. We looked forward to seeing her in a crowd. Dr. Insdorf was an oasis of intelligence.

(The picture here is of Mark, Annette, Cecile, and Hunter College’s Dr. Jennifer Raab.)

It’s the end of an era in our community. My heartfelt condolences to Annette and Mark.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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