The famous Italian director tells Venice that he was born a woman

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VENICE, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Award-winning Italian director Emanuele Crialese revealed on Sunday that he was born a woman as he premiered his highly autobiographical film ‘L’Immensita’, starring Penelope Cruz, at the Venice Film Festival.

“L’Immensita” centers on an Italian family growing up in 1970s Rome, where the eldest daughter identifies as a boy, adding fuel to the already strained relationship between her mother, played by Cruz, and his violent and unfaithful father.

“It’s inspired by my childhood and my own story,” said Crialese, whose latest film, “Terraferma,” won the Special Jury Prize at Venice in 2011.

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“I was born biologically a woman, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a huge part (meaning a) female character in me. That’s probably the best part of me,” said he said, speaking publicly for the first time. time on its transition.

“At some point, I had to make a choice…to live or die. You don’t choose to go on this kind of journey. You were born that way,” he added.

He gave no details about his transition, but said that, like in his often tender film, he leaned on his mother for support and acknowledged the anxiety it caused him.

In the Italian-language film, Cruz’s initially rambunctious character gives way under the weight of her overbearing husband and his trio of troubled children, all of whom bear the scars of living in an unhappy family.

Cruz, who won best actress at Venice last year for “Parallel Mothers,” said her character finds herself caught in a situation from which there is no escape.

“There are many women in the world trapped in their own homes, trying to pretend in front of their children that nothing is as bad as it seems. It’s just (done) out of survival. J ‘know some terrible, horrible stories,’ she told reporters.

“L’Immensita” is the latest in a long line of films where Cruz played a mother, a role she said she felt drawn to from a young age in her native Spain.

“(I had) a very strong maternal instinct since I was a five-year-old girl telling everyone in the park that my plan was to become a mother as soon as possible,” she said.

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Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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