We The Italians | Italian entertainment: Farewell to the Monica Vitti, the queen of Italian cinema

Italian entertainment: Farewell to the Monica Vitti, the queen of Italian cinema

Italian entertainment: Farewell to the Monica Vitti, the queen of Italian cinema

  • WTI Magazine #148 Feb 19, 2022
  • 333

On February 2nd Italy lost a queen, the queen of Italian cinema. Maria Luisa Ceciarelli, the real name of Monica Vitti, died at the age of 90 years, after a long-suffering period of disease that made her retire from the scenes for almost 20 years now.

Monica Vitti was born in 1931. She studied acting at the academy and began her career as an actress in the touring theatre in the '50s. Her parents moved to America, but she did not follow them because she wanted to become an actress. Her first official appearance in the Roman cinema is in a version of Machiavelli's Mandragola.

From there begins an intense artistic activity that will lead her to meet Michelangelo Antonioni, the director who will make her known to the general public. Three films will be fundamental for Monica Vitti’s success: L'Avventura (The Adventure) in 1960, which delighted the international scene, La Notte (The Night) in 1961 with Marcello Mastroianni and Eclisse (The Eclipse) in 1962 with Alan Delon.

These films of Antonioni are huge blockbusters in those years, also thanks to Monica Vitti who would be charming, fascinating and exciting. Monica is a versatile actress, able to interpret both tragedy and comedy. According to the New York Times, “her air of disenchantment perfectly conveys the unreal aura of her heroines".

Monica is an eclectic artist, even outside of the stage; she is often invited on TV for funny sketches, songs and short appearances. Her humble attitude, happy and friendly, makes her particularly appreciated by the popular Italy of those years, who is entering the world of consumption with a conservative mentality. In this aspect, Monica takes Italy by the hand, and through her characters guides it towards an innovative future.

From then on, she’ will partner up with the best Italian actors of the last century: from Alberto Sordi to Ugo Tognazzi, from Vittorio Gassman to Nino Manfredi, Monica Vitti will collect five David di Donatello (the Italian Oscars), 11 Italian Golden Globes and several others Italian and International awards.

Her sensitivity and charisma allowed her to be at the top of 30 years of Italian cinema, before the disease forced her to abandon the scenes and the public life, retiring in the family quietness together with her life partner, Roberto Russo.

The entire country mourned her death and wanted to remember her with affection and gratitude. Among all, we like to mention the condolences of the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, who reminded her during his most significant speech: the inauguration of his second seven years mandate.

Monica Vitti was an Italian giant: with Sophia Loren and Anna Magnani, she definitely is in the pantheon of the best Italian actresses ever. Discovering her films and works that date back to the 60’s and after, is an intelligent way to understand the Italian culture and society of those years.

Thank you, Monica, for making us great.