“Can you image what I’d be like if I wasn’t shy!” argues the vivacious Monica Bellucci following the opening of her new film On the Milky Road at the San Sebastian Film Festival.
Bellucci is the Italian beauty who is making a joke of the notion that actors can no longer portray love interests or sexual roles after they reach a certain age. Last year, at the age of 50, she became the oldest woman to impress James Bond, and now Bellucci portrays the fanciful love interest of a Serbian milkman, portrayed by the filmmaker, in Emir Kusturica’s On The Milky Road, set during the Balkan conflict.
The video shows a guy who goes crazy at the sight of Bellucci, as has been the case since she began modeling at the age of thirteen. To be with her, he even risks the wrath of a warlord. Vincent Cassel, a French bad boy who married his co-star after meeting her on the set of The Apartment in 1996, can witness to this. Bellucci’s transition from the runway to the big screen was also confirmed in that film. For her work as a stage actress whose closest friend damages her relationship, the actress was nominated for a Cesar Award.
She is most known for her role in Gasper Noe’s time-bending rape revenge thriller Irreversible, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002 and garnered worldwide attention for its horrifying 9-minute rape scene. It was yet another job in which she collaborated with Cassel, with whom she has two children. In Paris, where Bellucci currently resides, the couple’s breakup in 2013 sparked Brangelina-like emotions. She has performed parts in French, Italian, English, and Farsi, and is fluent in four languages. Her most well-known roles in the United States are Persephone, the bored wife in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, and Mary Magdalene in The Passion of the Christ.
So when two-time Palme d’Or winner Kusturica requested her to speak Serb, she was taken aback: “I needed to have a [voice]coach with me all the time,” Bellucci explains, “since I had to learn what I had to say [phonetically].” On set, there was a lot of improvisation since Emir utilized the narrative as a starting point and then let his imagination run wild.”
She claims that the filmmaker believed in her more than she believed in herself. “When Emir offered me the film, I told him, you do aware the whole picture is in Serb, but he replied, ‘you can do it,'” she explains. What evidence do they have? As in the case of Sam Mendes’ Spectre. It’s not every day that a 50-year-old lady is cast as a Bond girl. And now I’ve just completed a job in Mozart in the Jungle in which I play an opera singer, which I’ve never done before, so directors can sometimes see farther.”
Mendes, for one, believes Bellucci would be ideal because she has “mystery and depth…I simply felt Monica Bellucci made sense for the plot, the ages of the individuals we’re dealing with, and she has an unbelievable seductive presence in life and in the film.”
On the Milky Road took four years to create, because to Kusturica’s use of special effects to enhance the magical realism components, which he blends with his customary cacophony of loud music and outrageous escapades. The film begins with a fantastic opening montage that depicts the chaos of war, with bleeding animals, most notably pigs heads and geese, with troops firing from all sides, it’s impossible to tell who is shooting at whom and for what reason.
Despite the fact that the film is set against the background of the Balkan War, it is mostly forgotten as the love tale develops. Bellucci and the film emphasize human drama above any political message that some may be looking for. “I’ve lived in this region of beauty and misery for four years, but I approached this project from a human and artistic perspective rather than a political one.”
“It’s very tough for us to make a judgment on what occurred over there,” Bellucci says. While the film is set during the Balkan conflict from 1990 to 1994, it is not strictly a political film since I met so many individuals and people who have gone through so much. Despite the brutality, it is a romantic and surreal world with a love tale about two grown individuals who have faced many challenges. This video, in my opinion, illustrates that love and sexuality are a question of energy rather than age.”
Indeed, in the eyes of the actress, experience is becoming increasingly desirable. “And occasionally I meet people in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s who are simply fantastic,” she says. Some guys, as well. I recall working with Helmut Newton, who was 81 at the time, and having this experience with him, and it was incredible, full of vitality. He is a very remarkable individual. I admire a guy who has gone through a lot in his life and has come out on the other side. These males, regardless of their age, are really gorgeous.”
Bellucci recently made waves for appearing naked in a swimming pool for Paris Match, as if to make the point of her sexuality not shrinking and apparently obliterating her own declaration of being a timid person. “I enjoy doing it,” she adds of her decision to participate in the shoot. I’m from the fashion industry, and I like photography.”
Bellucci, on the other hand, may be evasive when she wants to be. When asked about her upcoming appearance in the highly anticipated Twin Peaks reboot, Bellucci smiles and raises her palm to her lips, clasping her fingers, signaling that she will remain silent. I don’t believe a good cup of coffee or a slice of cherry pie would persuade her to say anything else. It seems that the shyness emerges only when it is convenient for Bellucci.