Liliana Cavani rebellious, scandalous and political: the 90th birthday of a filmmaker in a man’s world
The director was celebrated at the Ministry of Culture in Rome with all the honors of a president of the republic of cinema. Among the invited directors were practically all men: Paolo Sorrentino and Paolo Virzì, but above all the great old men still remaining from that cinema of the sixties/seventies that gave luster to Italian industry and culture: Pupi Avati, and a sort of mica double like Marco Bellocchio
Rebellious, outrageous, political. Female director in a man’s world. Liliana Cavani will turn 90 on January 12 meanwhile was celebrated at the Ministry of Culture in Rome with all the honors of a president of the republic of cinema. Moreover, and coincidentally, among the invited directors were virtually all men. Paolo Sorrentino and Paolo Virzì, but above all the great old men still left over from that cinema of the sixties/seventies that gave luster to Italian industry and culture: Pupi Avati, and a sort of mica double like Marco Bellocchio. “It looked like a student assembly,” commented Minister Sangiuliano (“For me she is The Skin, a film hymn to freedom”), who revealed how the cue for the birthday party, creamy white cake and red roses in decoration, was from Vittorio Sgarbi (“among the films that marked my childhood are Last Tango in Paris and The Night Porter”).
Curious that a dissenting and countercultural Catholic like Cavani, for decades as close (and far) from the “social-communist” vulnus of Italian cinema, ended up celebrated in the Meloni era. The cards are shuffled, but without changer la femme. The Carpi-born Cavani who ended up in Rome shooting documentaries for RAI when she was not even 30 years old and then made her debut with a Francis (1966), about the saint of Assisi, where the symbolic icon of rebellion against the system, Lou Castel, wears the poor shoes of the protagonist. It is reported that the TV miniseries (two episodes) registered twenty million viewers in May ’66. The years of the post-’48 thaw, the advent of the Second Vatican Council, Catholicism changing form and seeming substance as well, for Cavani became real cinema debut (Francis would end up in full theatrical release in 1972) with a pure Galileo in the year of the ’68 protest. Film about the curiosity of scientist who not as a hothead or undisciplined challenged the Church’s view on the cosmos. Opera that, moreover, was produced by Rai, but then somehow disowned by Rai itself and never broadcast (the anecdote of Andreotti begging even Craxi not to have it broadcast on TV is history).