Trace Lysette has made even more history with her role in the new family drama Monica.
Lysette, who broke out onto the Hollywood scene after playing Shea on Transparent, is now starring in the new film from Italian director Andrea Pallaoro (Medeas, Hannah) about a trans woman who is estranged from her family and returns home to care for her sick mother whom she hasn’t seen since before she transitioned.
The movie premiered in competition at the Venice Film Festival, breaking ground as the first film with a trans lead to play at the esteemed festival. Now, she’s made more history with the film, getting one of the longest ovations of any film or actor.
One of the draws of festivals like Venice is the chance for audiences to get to see some of the movies that will become award contenders up close, and with the actors and directors there. Because of this, there are often standing ovations for favorite performances and films.
This year, some of the biggest films at the festival made news for the ovations they received, including a 4-minute ovation for Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling, and a 6-minute ovation for Brendan Fraser, the comeback star of Darren Aronofsky’s new film The Whale, for which Fraser is already an Oscar frontrunner for his role as a 600 pound gay man.
Lysette also received an ovation for her stirring starring role in Monica, and it was one of the longest at the festival. After the film ended, Lysette received an 11-and-a-half-minute standing ovation, by far the longest at the festival until Colin Farrell received a 13-minute ovation for his new film The Banshees of Inisherin.
“When the film was coming to its end I couldn’t gauge if people even liked it because I was sitting next to the director Andrea Pallaoro who has seen it a million times, and then being in the first row of the second level there were only steps in front of me,” Lysette told Out of her experience at the screening. “So 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 continued. “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 says. “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.”
Other films at the festival that received standing ovations include Tod Field’s TÁR, with a six-minute ovation, and Luca Guadagnino’s Bones And All with an eight-and-a-half-minute ovation.