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Venice Film Festival: Charlotte Rampling presents historic award to lesbian filmmaker Liliana Cavani

The 80th Venice Film Festival officially kicked off on Wednesday evening with an unprecedented award for trailblazing director Liliana Cavani.

Legendary actress Charlotte Rampling presented the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to groundbreaking Italian auteur Liliana Cavani, whose films have often dealt with transgressives and taboo sexualities (The Night Porter, The Berlin Affair). Film aficionados will remember Rampling was the lead in Caviani’s groundbreaking 1974 The Night Porter, in which she played a concentration camp survivor who discovers that her former torturer, played by out gay actor Dirk Bogarde, is working as a porter at a hotel in postwar Vienna.

Variety reports Rampling made an “impassioned speech” about the lesbian filmmaker in which she noted “Cavani had in mind the words of a woman, an Auschwitz survivor, who could never forgive her captors for making her survive her own dark side.”

Speaking about Cavani’s landmark body of work, which includes an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley’s Game, Rampling emphasized that from the early 1960s “Cavani has been forcing us to confront the beautiful, the ugly, and the unresolved.”

Cavani, 90, was given a standing ovation, and noted that she is the first woman in the history of the Venice Film Festival to be awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. “It’s not entirely fair,” she said. “There are women screenwriters and directors who work just as well as men,” she remarked. “They should consider the fact that women can make cinema. There is an imbalance and I hope this is beginning [of change].”

Additionally, of LGBTQ interest, this year there are 16 films in competition for the Queer Lion Award, including Bradley Cooper’s Maestro. Here is the full list:

DogMan by Luc Besson (France, 114’)
Presented in Venezia 80 Competition

Maestro by Bradley Cooper (Usa, 129’)
Presented in Venezia 80 Competition

Kobieta z… (Woman of) by Małgorzata Szumowska, Michał Englert (Poland, Sweden, 132’)
Presented in Venezia 80 Competition

Paradiset brinner (Paradise is burning) by Mika Gustafson (Sweden, Italy, Denmark, Finland, 108’)
Presented in Orizzonti

Sem Coração by Nara Normande, Tião (Brazil, France, Italy, 91’)
Presented in Orizzonti

Yurt (Dormitory) by Nehir Tuna (Turkey, Germany, France, 116’)
Presented in Orizzonti

Domakinstvo za pocetnici (Housekeeping for beginners) by Goran Stolevski (North Macedonia, Poland, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, 107’)
Presented in Orizzonti

Pet Shop Days by Olmo Schnabel (Usa, Italy, Uk, Mexico, 100’)
Presented in Orizzonti Extra

Bill Douglas My Best Friend by Jack Archer (Uk, 72’)
Presented in Venice Classics

Árni by Dorka Vermes (Hungary)
Presented in Biennale College Cinema

To kalokairi tis Karmen (The Summer with Carmen) by Zacharias Mavroeidis (Greece, 106’)
Presented in 20. Giornate degli Autori – Official Selection

Frammenti di un percorso amoroso by Chloe Barreau (Italy, 95’)
Presented in 20. Giornate degli Autori – Notti Veneziane

Le mie poesie non cambieranno il mondo by Annalena Benini, Francesco Piccolo (Italy, 77′)
Presented in 20. Giornate degli Autori – Notti Veneziane

About Last Year by Dunja Lavecchia, Beatrice Surano, Morena Terranova (Italy, 80’)
Presented in 38. Venice International Film Critics’ Week

Life Is Not a Competition, But I’m Winning by Julia Fuhr Mann (Germany, 79’)
Presented in 38. Venice International Film Critics’ Week

Malqueridas by Tana Gilbert (Chile, Germany, 72’)
Presented in 38. Venice International Film Critics’ Week

This year’s Queer Lion will be awarded by a jury composed by members of the Board of Queer Lion Association, attending in Venice Lido. The award ceremony is set for Friday, September 8th in Venice Lido.

Venice Film Festival runs through September 9.

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