Trace Lysette makes history and receives 11-minute standing ovation at Venice Film Festival

Trace Lysette
Trace Lysette Photo: Shutterstock

Trace Lysette already made history as the first trans women to star in a film in the Venice Film Festival’s main competition when her new film premiered last weekend. But after the credits rolled, the Transparent and Hustlers actress was treated to another honor: receiving one of the longest standing ovations at the 2022 festival.

The Venice crowd of industry insiders applauded Lysette for over 11-minutes following the world premiere of director Andrea Pallaoro’s Monica. The only other ovation to top that this year was for Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin.

Lysette stars in the moody family drama about a trans woman who returns home to care for her ailing mother (Patricia Clarkson) who does not recognize her. Deadline called the film “a tender portrait of familial reconnection in difficult circumstances, with terrific performances.” Of Lysette, reviewer Anna Smith wrote that she delivers “a quietly powerful turn as a woman full of complexities.”

Lysette described the stirring moment to Out: “I thought as the screen went to black, ‘ohhh okay, it’s over and I did my best and that’s that,’ but then the lights came up.”

“They stood and they clapped, I felt pretty chill for the first few minutes, and then I’d guess after 5 minutes or so I just felt all this emotion because I kept thinking, ‘aren’t we done here?’ But they just kept clapping,” she said. “I started to cry. I tried to hold it in but I looked back at my friend Johnny Sibilly and he was in full-on tears. Other people were too. And that sent me.”

“I started to think about how long this journey has been for me, as an actor, a trans woman,” she continued. “I honestly had flashes of memories of me in the early 00’s as a working girl in the West Village and I just couldn’t believe that this moment was real. That this was the same lifetime as that.”

Lysette previously discussed being the first trans actress to headline a film in the festival’s main competition with Deadline.

“I’m just figuring all that out. That headline dropped [this week] and I questioned it, and now I’m just processing it,” she said. “I hope what it means is more open doors for Trans people in world cinema, and feature films in general. I feel there is such a lack…there are rooms we just don’t get in and it’s so rare we get to lead a film. It means a lot to me personally, but it also means a lot to the community. I hope it does.”

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