Best known for The Night Porter (1974) which, like many of her films, boldly and effectively deals with socio-political and sexual themes, Liliana Cavani has been a director and frequent writer of features, TV programs, documentaries and operas. Soon after her time in film school, Cavani was hired to work at RAI, the Italian television network, as a director for a newly formed second Italian channel in 1961. Storia del III Reich (1962) was a four-hour analysis of Nazism while La Donna della Resistenza (1963) revealed little-known information about Italian women who had worked in the Resistance movement during World War II.
Cavani followed these up with a series of documentaries before making her first dramatic work, Francis of Assisi, in 1966. The result was played at the Venice Film Festival and won an award at the Valladolid Film Festival. She moved into feature filmmaking, next co-writing and directing Galileo (1968), which garnered controversy for its extreme anti-Church establishment viewpoint that led to the Vatican’s attempt to suppress the film. Cavani continued exploring themes of sex, politics and history throughout her career, and as of 2020 is in pre-production of a UK-based thriller.