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Famed male Italian director tells Venice he was born a woman

Award-winning Italian director Emanuele Crialese announced on Sunday at the Venice Film Festival that he was born a woman while introducing his intensely autobiographical film “L’Immensita,” starring Penelope Cruz.

The story of an Italian family growing up in Rome in the 1970s is the subject of “L’Immensita,” in which the mother, played by Cruz, and the father, who is violent and unfaithful, have strained ties because the oldest daughter identifies as a guy.

According to Crialese, whose previous film, “Terraferma,” earned the Special Jury Prize at Venice in 2011, “It is influenced by my youth and my own narrative.”

“Despite the fact that I am a woman by birth, I still have a large portion of a female character. Probably my best quality is that “Speaking about his transition in public for the first time, he stated.

“There came a time when I had to decide whether to live or die. You don’t decide to travel in that manner. You were created that way “Added he.

While he avoided going into specifics of his transition, he did say that, like in his frequently moving film, he relied on his mother for support and understood the worry it caused her.

Cruz’s initially ebullient persona in the Italian-language film crumbles under the weight of her controlling husband and her difficult trio of kids, who all suffer the scars of growing up in an unhappy home.

Cruz, who took home the best actress prize at the Venice Film Festival last year for “Parallel Mothers,” claimed that her heroine is stuck in a predicament from which there is no way out.

“I know some of them, terrible, dreadful stories,” she told reporters. “There are many women throughout the world locked in their own houses, trying to lie in front of their children that nothing is as bad as it looks.

The most recent in a long line of movies where Cruz has played a mother is “L’Immensita,” a part she claimed she had been drawn to in her home Spain since she was a small child.

She recalled that when she was five years old, “(I) had a really strong maternal instinct and was telling everyone in the park that my intention was to become a mother as soon as possible.”