The decision was made by the festival’s parent organization, the Venice Biennale, chaired by Paolo Baratta, and upon the recommendation of festival artistic director Alberto Barbera.
Redgrave thanked the festival and noted that she was in Venice last year filming the upcoming adaptation of Henry James’ “The Aspern Papers.” She also recalled that many years ago she shot drama “La Vacanza,” directed by Tinto Brass, in the marshes of Veneto.
“My character spoke every word in the Venetian dialect,” Redgrave, 81, said in a statement. “I bet I am the only non-Italian actress to act an entire role in Venetian dialect!”
Barbera praised Redgrave for her “sensitive, infinitely faceted performances,” and noted that with her “natural elegance, innate seductive power, and extraordinary talent, she can nonchalantly pass from European art-house cinema to lavish Hollywood productions,” and “from the stage to TV sets, each time offering top-quality results.”
Born in London into a family of thespians, Redgrave made her silver-screen debut in 1958 in the comedy “Behind the Mask,” in which she appeared alongside her father, Michael Redgrave. She then dedicated herself to the theater and became a member of the Stratford-upon-Avon Theatre company, where she met director Tony Richardson, who became her husband and directed her in many Shakespeare plays.
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In 1966, Redgrave returned to cinema with “Morgan – A Suitable Case for Treatment,” directed by Karel Reisz, which won her the best actress award in Cannes. That same year, Redgrave performed in Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blow Up,” and began dividing her time between film and theater work.
She has been nominated for an Oscar six times, and won in 1977 for her performance in Fred Zinnemann’s “Julia.” She won Venice’s Volpi Cup in 1994 for her role in James Gray’s “Little Odessa,” and also won a Tony, an Olivier, an Emmy, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe, among her many other prizes.
Redgrave was last on the Lido as a star of Joe Wright’s 2007 “Atonement,” which opened the festival that year.
Known for her political activism, she made her directorial debut last year with “Sea Sorrow,” a meditation on the current global refugee crisis, which premiered at Cannes.
Earlier this year, she appeared in the two-part play “The Inheritance” at London’s Young Vic theater.