Monica Vitti, the Italian Cinema Heroine, Passes on at 90

Monica Vitti, the multi-talented cinema star of Michelangelo Antonioni’s “L’Avventura” and other 1960s Italian alienation films, and later a prominent comedy actress, has passed on. Vitti was 90 years old at the the time of her demise.

Her death was revealed on Wednesday on Twitter by a former culture minister, Walter Veltroni, who stated that he had been urged by her husband, Roberto Russo, to announce her demise.

“Goodbye to the queen of Italian cinema,” current culture minister Dario Franceschini said in a statement.

The Works of Monica Vitti

In the 1960s, she was most recognized for her major performances in Antonioni’s films “L’Avventura,” “La Notte,” “Eclisse” (“Eclipse”), and “Red Desert.” The two were perpetual paparazzi targets.

“L’Avventura” brought her international recognition and acclaim for her portrayal of an icy calm woman who falls in love with the boyfriend of her missing girlfriend. In the final installment of the cycle, “Red Desert,” she portrays a lady who struggles with a profound, enigmatic psychosis as she struggles to cope with an altered industrial world.

Vitti’s blond hair and blue eyes set her distinct from other classic Mediterranean cinema actresses, such as Sophia Loren, who had dark hair.

Antonioni paid tribute to her performance during a special showing at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1999 to commemorate the completion of an Italian film restoration effort.

“The protagonist, Giuliana, goes through a profound personal crisis because of her inability to adapt,” he explained in statements read by his wife, Enrica.

Vitti and Antonioni did not collaborate again until 1980, following the termination of their partnership. At that moment, she shifted gears dramatically and began directing comedies, collaborating with top directors and some of Italy’s greatest actors, notably Alberto Sordi, a tragi-comic actor, in films in which Italians’ strengths and flaws were frequently represented.

While many of her films did not receive international release or critical recognition, her performances were well received domestically.

Vitti co-starred in Ettore Scola’s romantic comedy “Dramma della gelosia” with Marcello Mastroianni in 1970. (“The Pizza Triangle”). In 1974, she won the Italian Oscar’s equivalent, the David di Donatello, for best actress in Sordi’s “Polvere di Stelle,” one of five such awards she earned throughout her career.

In 1974, she starred in Luis Bunuel’s “Le Fantome de la Liberte,” a surrealistic examination of middle-class hypocrisy that is widely regarded as her final significant picture.

An Actress Different From the Rest

Her versatility set her apart from other actresses throughout her era.

She and Sordi roll on the sand in a notable scene from “Amore mio aiutami” (“Help me, my love”), exchanging slaps and blows. In one of her two English-language films, “Modesty Blaise,” she co-starred with Terence Stamp and Dirk Bogarde in an espionage parody.

Early and Personal Life

Vitti was born in Rome in 1931 as Maria Luisa Ceciarelli. As a teenager, she performed in amateur theatre performances before enrolling in Rome’s National Academy of Dramatic Arts to study acting. In 1954, she made her cinematic debut in Scola’s “Ridere Ridere Ridere” (“Laugh Laugh Laugh”). Her most recent film was 1989’s “Scandalo Segreto,” which was written and directed by her. She also starred in the film.

Her isolated lifestyle generated considerable curiosity about her health. In 1988, Le Monde stated that she died of a barbiturate overdose. In France, she was extremely popular, and her admirers were upset.

Her most recent public appearance occurred in 2002, during the world premiere of “Notre Dame de Paris.”

The Venice Film Festival honored her with the Golden Lion award for career accomplishment in 1995.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi lauded Vitti as “a woman of tremendous irony and extraordinary talent who won generations of Italians over with her personality, bravura, and beauty.” She elevated the status of Italian cinema on a global scale.”

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