She was one of the defining actresses of Italian cinema. Now Monica Vitti is dead.


Italian actress Monica Vitti has died aged 90. This was announced on Wednesday by the former mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, on behalf of Vitti’s husband, Roberto Russo.

Vitti was one of Italy’s best-known film actresses of the 1960s and 1970s, having success in both raw comedy and dramatic roles.

“An actress of great irony and extraordinary talent, she won over generations of Italians with her wit, her bravery, her beauty,” said Prime Minister Mario Draghi. “She made Italian cinema shine all over the world.”

Alongside Sofia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida and Claudia Cardinale, Vitti was one of Italy’s most notable actresses. With “The Play with Love” (originally: “L’avventura”) from 1960, she and star director Michelangelo Antonioni, for whom she was the muse, made one of the most important films of European cinema . Hollywood director Martin Scorsese once wrote, “‘L’avventura’ gave me one of the deepest shock moments I’ve ever had in a movie.”

After Vitti was more the melancholic symbol of loneliness in Antonioni’s intellectual-existential strips, she showed her humorous talent in comedies like “With guns we don’t catch men” (“La ragazza con la gun”).

The actress, born Maria Luisa Ceciarelli in Rome, received the Silver Bear at the 1984 Berlinale for her outstanding individual performance in the film “Flirt.” In 1995, she received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Film Festival.

For the past two decades, Vitti has lived in isolation from the public eye due to a serious illness. (dpa)