Long live women filmmakers, even awkward ones, says Vanessa Redgrave

VENICE, Italy (Reuters) – Vanessa Redgrave, who received a lifetime achievement award at the Venice Film Festival this week, added her voice to those calling for more visibility of female directors, even if she said women were sometimes hard to work with.

The 81-year-old British actress, was given a Golden Lion for her career that began on stage in the 1950s and led to an Oscar-winning movie career, at a festival that has been criticized for the small number of women directors in its line-up.

“You know women can be pretty awkward … rather more awkward than men,” Redgrave told Reuters in an interview.

“They might be in some cases far more talented … but they can be pretty awkward. I myself have worked with some women directors that I’m not happy about at all, on stage and on film, not all of them, just a couple instances and I did find them awkward to get on with,” she said, without naming names.

“Now it’s not that I think all feminism is wrong at all, no, no, no, but there’s some things that only feminists have and it rubs the wrong way, you know. Anyway, yes, long live women directors along with the others.”

Of the 21 films selected for the main competition in Venice this year, only one was directed by a woman, “The Nightingale” by Australian Jennifer Kent.

Redgrave stars in “The Aspern Papers”, based on a Henry James novella, that screened at Venice. 

Her co-star and producer on this film, “The Tudors” actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers, told Reuters she “brings a wonderful gravitas” and is “all about the real”.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Writing by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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