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5 well-known Italian actresses

Italian cinema has thrived on its succession of outstanding women since the days of neorealism through the 1960s. Here are five artists whose work should be sought after because it combines grit, glamour, and inimitable star power.

It should come as no surprise that Italy, the diva’s birthplace, has produced a plethora of world-class actresses. Italian movie divas have been making audiences laugh and cry in equal measure since the very first narrative features, years before the Hollywood star system took shape. Silent film stars such as Francesca Bertini, Lyda Borelli, and Pina Menichelli created a sensation with unprecedented fervor, and even while acting techniques grew more confined with the introduction of sound, there was no reduction in quality or quantity. Isa Miranda, Alida Valli, and Clara Calamai emerged early in the sound period, as did Anna Magnani, the incomparable powerhouse of Italian screen acting. Magnani appears to be a decent place to start in our examination of five of Italy’s most renowned ladies.

Anna Magnani

Anna Magnani

Rome Open City (1945), Bellissima (1951), and Mamma Roma (1955) are all films set in Rome (1962)

What makes her unique?

Although she is best known for her dramatic drama, Anna Magnani also excelled in humor, as do many of Italy’s greatest actors. Her captivating, earthy authenticity in films like Roberto Rossellini’s Rome Open City drew her to Hollywood, where she went on to make other films. She earned an Oscar for best actress in The Rose Tattoo, Daniel Mann’s 1955 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ play written especially for her. She also starred alongside Marlon Brando in another Williams adaption, The Fugitive Kind (1960). When she returned to Italy, she played the titular role in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Mamma Roma (1962). Three Women (1971), Magnani’s last important production directed by Alfredo Giannetti and scored by Ennio Morricone, is begging to be rediscovery.

The best moment

Mamma Roma’s night-time walks in Pasolini’s film are riveting, but it’s hard to look beyond the extraordinary sequence in Rome Open City when, after escaping the clutches of a Nazi soldier, Magnani’s character Pina makes a desperate run to her captured resistance fighter fiancé.

Silvana Mangano

Silvana Mangano

Films that are essential

Bitter Rice (1949), Naples Gold (1954), and My Wife (1964)

What makes her unique?

When director Giuseppe De Santis set out to find a female lead for his film Bitter Rice, a romantic criminal thriller set in the Po Valley, he envisioned a “Rita Hayworth from the Italian regions.” Soon realising that few established Italian actresses could carry off such a role, De Santis and producer Dino De Laurentiis cast Silvana Mangano, a former Miss Italia contestant who, despite only being in her late teens, already had some experience in front of the camera.

Mangano and De Santis received criticism for the heightened sexuality of the performance but there’s certainly no doubting its enduring impact, something that Mangano struggled with in later years as audiences came to expect similar bombshell roles. She married De Laurentiis shortly after completing Bitter Rice, yet she remained as selective in her project selection as possible. Between her mid-30s and mid-40s, she had a real golden period, bringing elegance and poise to films by directors such as Pasolini (Oedipus Rex, Theorem, The Decameron) and Luchino Visconti (Death in Venice, Ludwig, Conversation Piece).

The best moment

In an episode from Vittorio De Sica’s The Gold of Naples, Mangano plays a prostitute called Teresa whose marriage to a businessman turns out to be a sham. The scene toward the end of the episode when Teresa stands alone one night on an empty Naples street contemplating whether to return to confront her husband, is simply breathtaking. In a bravura dialogue-free five minutes, we see her mood change from dejection to anger to acceptance as she makes her way back to her marital home.

Monica Vitti

Monica Vitti

Films that are essential

Red Desert (1964), Jealousy, Italian Style (1970), That’s How We Women Are (1971)

What makes her unique?

Think of the modernist cinema of Michelangelo Antonioni and one actress inevitably comes to mind: Monica Vitti. She was an ever-present in the director’s so-called ‘tetralogy of alienation’ (L’avventura, La notte, L’eclisse, Red Desert) playing hypnotically beautiful, often inscrutable characters in films of great weight and seriousness. It was a surprise to many, therefore, when from the late 1960s onwards, she transformed into a brilliant comic actress, going for parts that offered up social critique through comedy. Vitti found perfect collaborators in directors such as Ettore Scola, Mario Monicelli and Dino Risi.

The best moment

In the early morning opening scene of L’eclisse, the long-term relationship between Victoria (Vitti) and Riccardo (Francisco Rabal) has fizzled out and both struggle to properly articulate their feelings. Red Desert is another high point of her career as a dramatic actress, but to get a sense of her skill at comedy, look no further than Risi’s That’s How We Women Are. She puts Peter Sellers to shame with twelve separate roles, ranging from a punctilious musician to the boisterous neapolitan mother of 22 children.

Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren

Essential films

Two Women (1960), Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963), A Special Day (1977)

What’s special about her?

Arguably the most famous Italian actress of them all, Sophia Loren had a similar entry into the world of film as Mangano but the two were very different, both in terms of their background and temperament. While Mangano never intended to be a diva and often felt uncomfortable with the trappings of stardom, Loren was far more driven to be an international star. Like Mangano, she married a producer (Carlo Ponti) but she gave him a freer hand to shape her career.

Her breakthrough came at the age of 19, when she played a pizzaiola who misplaces her wedding ring in an episode from The Gold of Naples. Between 1955 and 1960, she made a string of films in Hollywood, acting opposite the likes of Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Anthony Quinn, John Wayne and Clark Gable. De Sica’s war drama Two Women was the first picture to truly test her as an actress. Indeed, her work with De Sica – also including Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Marriage Italian Style (1964), Sunflower (1970) and The Voyage (1974) – would provide Loren with many of her most substantial roles.

Finest moment

Rightly or wrongly, Loren is probably best remembered for her striptease for Marcello Mastroianni in Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, a scene which they recreated 30 years later in Robert Altman’s all-star 1993 satire Prêt-à-porter.

Outside of her work with De Sica, one of Loren’s greatest performances came in Scola’s A Special Day, again opposite Mastroianni. The film unfolds in a Rome apartment block in May 1938, on the occasion of Adolf Hitler’s visit to the city. Far away from the pomp and ceremony, we find Antonietta (Loren), a demure housewife who meets Gabriele (Mastroianni), a radio announcer who’s recently been dismissed from his position. In one scene, the pair are on the rooftop collecting Antonietta’s washing and discussing their political beliefs. After a moment of playfulness on Gabriele’s part, she finds herself drawn to him. Beautifully played by both actors, the scene shows Loren at her most vulnerable and sensitive.

Cardinale, Claudia

Cardinale, Claudia

Films that are essential

Sandra (1965), Once Upon a Time in the West (1961), Girl with a Suitcase (1961). (1968)

What makes her unique?

Cardinale, who was born and reared in Tunisia, made her debut Italian film, Mario Monicelli’s robbery comedy Big Deal on Madonna Street, in 1958. She played the younger sister of a fearsomely protective Sicilian gangster, and she showed enough potential for producer Franco Cristaldi (whom she eventually married) to introduce her as a significant new star and sex symbol. She next received accolades from none other than Pasolini for her performance in Pietro Germi’s criminal thriller The Facts of Murder (1959), a film Cardinale has always regarded pivotal in her growth as an actress.

During the 1960s and 1970s, her filmography quickly rose to become one of the most impressive of any European actress, with roles in future Italian cinema classics such as Visconti’s Rocco and His Brothers (1960) and The Leopard (1963), Federico Fellini’s 812 (1963), and Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West. She typically shone as part of an ensemble cast, but, like Magnani, Mangano, Loren, and Vitti, filmmakers would cast Cardinale in smaller-scale films and develop plots around her. In the early to mid 1960s, she played in two films: Valerio Zurlini’s Girl with a Suitcase and Luchino Visconti’s Sandra.

The best moment

Once Upon a Time in the West’s arrival of Cardinale’s character Jill McBain at Flagstone train station is one of the most unforgettable sequences in all of 1960s cinema. Jill exits the station after realizing that her husband Brett will not be there to meet her. Leone shoots this final piece in a single take, ascending far above the station to Ennio Morricone’s soaring soundtrack.

Stories

Who Looks More Stunning in a Red Dress, Scarlett Johansson or Elizabeth Olsen?

The youngest Olsen sibling, formerly dwarfed by her older sisters, has grown up. She claims to be 32, although she seems much younger. At Saturday night’s 33rd Film Independent Spirit Awards in Los Angeles, Elizabeth wowed in a bold red sheer lace Zuhair Murad outfit that highlighted her amazing physique. The actress looked both sultry and refined in her choice of wardrobe. One of the actors that caught our attention was Elizabeth Olsen, who donned a Zuhair Murad bespoke gown and Jimmy Choo stiletto sandals. Her all-ruby-red outfit is stunning and clearly draws inspiration from the designer’s spring/summer 2018 collection. A thin lace dress like Elizabeth’s would look stunning in this colour of red for an evening out on the town. The midi-length gown accentuates her figure thanks to the mirror-image lace work down the garment and the corset-style bodice. Check out her attire below: –

Scarlett Johansson, who also appeared in “The Avengers,” wore a garment quite identical to the one in question. She didn’t wear it to an event, but the photographs she snapped of herself in it are undeniably sultry. Her hair was done in a classic updo, and she wore minimal makeup. Her cherry red dress matched the colour of lipstick she was carrying, and her eyes were captivating. While the overall style of her clothing was comparable to that of Elizabeth’s, the shearing pattern was unique to her own. Look at Scarlett in that dress: –

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson
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Stories

How Monica Bellucci always looks so young

30 September 2014 The actress Monica Bellucci will be 50. She is still one of the most stunning and seductive ladies on the planet despite being far from youthful.

A gathering was hosted in Moscow in March 2014 to celebrate the launch of a new Dolce & Gabbana store. The party’s primary attraction was the incomparable Monica Bellucci. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, two fashion designers, and the actress have a close bond. In the late 1980s, Bellucci made her modeling debut in the Dolce & Gabbana show. She has been promoting this fashion brand’s clothing, perfumes, and cosmetics for about ten years now. The journalists, Russian celebrities, and ordinary admirers of her talent described the Italian actress as luxurious, sophisticated, exquisite, and singular. The actress, who is approaching her 50th birthday, looks gorgeous despite her recent divorce.

One of the few women who age gracefully is Monica Bellucci. She encourages all women to follow her lead because she has figured out how to accept herself at any age. The Italian beauty’s visage makes it clear that she resisted the trend for “beauty injections” and only occasionally makes use of cosmetic surgery’s advancements. This makes Monica Bellucci appear really authentic. Bellucci is stunning without makeup and has traditionally attractive facial features. However, the actress acknowledges that she finds it impossible to envision her existence without makeup. She loves lipstick and mascara for beauty goods. Her brown eyes are highlighted by the eyeshadow’s delicate selection of light gray or brown hues.

The key elements of Monica Bellucci’s look include a floor-length dress, high heels, natural makeup, and beautiful black hair. This actress has frequently appeared on lists of the sexiest and most attractive women in the world. The Italian movie star’s physique might be used as the benchmark for femininity. She doesn’t make an effort to meet the expectations of beauty set by Hollywood and the fashion industry. Monica’s weight stabilized at around 68 kg after the birth of her second child, but the actress was in no rush to start a diet. She was breastfeeding, which was her main concern.

Monica Bellucci has frequently stated that she doesn’t take any additional measures to maintain her physical fitness. She doesn’t exercise or follow a diet. The actress chuckles and says, “I’m too lazy for that.” The actress prefers to wear black clothing that conceals her imperfections rather than working out at a gym until she is exhausted. If she wants to drop weight for a certain job, she just switches to lower-calorie foods, and the pounds naturally disappear. With a height of 175 centimeters, Monica weighs between 64 and 66 kg. By Hollywood standards, this is almost a catastrophe. However, Bellucci has always stood out since she never tried to uphold the standards.

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Stories

Unknown Facts About Monica Bellucci

Italian model and actress Monica Anna Maria Bellucci. She is frequently considered as one of the most stunning ladies in the world.

About Monica Bellucci

The only child of Brunella Briganti and Pasquale Bellucci, Monica Anna Maria Bellucci was born on September 30, 1964, in the Italian village of Città di Castello, Umbria.

She holds Italian nationality. Brunella Briganti and Pasquale Bellucci’s only child is Monica Bellucci.

When Monica Bellucci was a teenager, she began modeling. She first appeared in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and The Apartment after working as a model. Early in the 1990s, Bellucci’s film career got underway.

She cemented her status as an actress in 1996 when she was nominated for a César Award for best supporting actress for her depiction of Lisa in The Apartment.

Bellucci played Persephone in the popular science-fiction sequel to The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, which debuted in 2003. The two were nominated for best kiss at the MTV Movie Awards for their on-screen liplock with co-star Keanu Reeves.

Two national publications claim that Italian is regarded as a sex symbol.

After that, Bellucci focused on all things biblical, portraying Mary Magdalene to Jim Caviezel’s Jesus in the Mel Gibson-directed The Passion of the Christ (2004). Immediately after that, Bellucci starred as the Mirror Queen alongside Matt Damon and Heath Ledger as the title characters in the fantasy-action adventure The Brothers Grimm (2005).

She briefly studied law before opting to pursue modeling.

Bellucci Love Life

In 1990, she wed the photographer Claudio Basso; however, the couple separated in 1994.

Claudio Carlos Basso 1. (1990-1994)
Vincent Cassel 2. (1999-2013)

Bellucci continued to split her time between Hollywood assignments and European film appearances. She co-starred in the 2000 film Under Suspicion alongside Gene Hackman, and the same year, she won praise for her moving portrayal of a wife who is torn apart by war in the Italian-language drama Malèna.

Before divorcing in 2013, she married Vincent Cassel, with whom she had two daughters: Deva in 2004 and Leonie in 2010.

Bellucci Family

1. Deva Cassel (daughter with Vincent Cassel)
2. Léonie Cassel (daughter with Vincent Cassel)

Leonie and Deva

She posed half-naked for the Italian Vanity Fair magazine’s April 2010 issue while she was carrying her daughter Deva in 2004 in an effort to draw attention to the country’s ban on sperm donations.

Bellucci continued to split her time between Hollywood assignments and European film appearances. She co-starred in the 2000 film Under Suspicion alongside Gene Hackman, and the same year, she won praise for her moving portrayal of a wife who is torn apart by war in the Italian-language drama Malèna.

Later, Bellucci co-starred with Rachel Weisz in the 2010 true-crime film The Whistleblower and Robert De Niro in the 2011 Italian romantic comedy The Ages of Love. She also gained notoriety when she was chosen to play the next “Bond Girl” opposite Daniel Craig in the 2015 film Spectre, making her the oldest actress to ever portray the superspy’s love interest in the James Bond film series.

It was named Dolce & Gabbana’s advertising spokesperson in 2012.

Bellucci and her then-husband Cassel co-starred in the historical action movie Brotherhood of the Wolf two years later.

Monica is dating Mountain Jew millionaire and entrepreneur Telman Ismailov.

Monica Bellucci and Telman Ismailov

Ettore Scola’s A Special Day is her favorite film. Her favorite actresses are Claudia Cardinale and Sophia Loren. She can sing, and acting is his love.

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