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Monica Vitti (born 3 November 1931) is an Italian actress most widely noted for her frosty expressiveness and starring roles during the early 1960s in films directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, her lover at that time.Born Maria Luisa Ceciarelli in Rome, as a teenager she acted in amateur productions, then trained as an actor at Rome`s National Academy of Dramatic Arts (graduating in 1953) and at Pittman`s College, where she played a teen in a charity performance of Dario Niccodemi`s La nemica. She toured Germany with an Italian acting troupe and her first stage appearance in Rome was for a production of Niccolò Machiavelli`s La Mandragola. Vitti`s first film role was in Ettore Scola`s Ridere Ridere Ridere (1954) but her first widely noted performance was at the age of 26 in Mario Amendola`s Le dritte (1958). In 1957 she joined Michelangelo Antonioni`s Teatro Nuovo di Milano and later played a leading role in his internationally praised and award winning film L`avventura (1960) as a detached and cool protagonist drifting into a relationship with the lover of her missing girlfriend. Giving a screen presence which has been described as "stunning" she is also credited with helping Antonioni raise money for the production and sticking with him through daunting location shooting. L`avventura made Vitti an international star and one of Italy`s most famous actresses of the 20th century. Her image later appeared on an Italian postage stamp commemorating the film.
Vitti received critical praise for starring roles in the Antonioni films La notte (Night, 1961), L`eclisse (Eclipse, 1962) and Il deserto rosso (Red Desert, 1964), which are often cited with L`avventura as a series.
Vitti`s only English language film was the title role in Modesty Blaise (1966), a mod James Bond spy spoof with Terence Stamp and Dirk Bogarde which had only mixed success and received harsh critical reviews.
In 1970 Vitti starred with Marcello Mastroianni in Ettore Scola`s highly successful romantic comedy Dramma della gelosia (The Pizza Triangle, 1970). In 1974 she won the David di Donatello award for Best Actress in Alberto Sordi`s Polvere di stelle (1973). She starred in Luis Buñuel`s innovative Le Fantôme de la liberté (1974) and with Barbara Bouchet in L`Anantra all`arancia (1975), a farcical sex comedy.
Throughout the later 1970s and early 1980s Vitti appeared mostly in Italian films which did not have international distribution. In 1980 after 15 years she reunited with Antonioni for his Il mistero di Oberwald which was shot on video, after which she did much less screen work. In 1989 Vitti wrote, directed and starred in Scandalo Segreto, then retired from the cinema
By 1986 Vitti had returned to the theatre as an actress and teacher. During the 1990s she did television work, acting and directing. In 1993 Vitti was awarded the Festival Tribute at the Créteil International Women`s Film Festival in France.
In 2000 Vitti married Roberto Russo, with whom she had lived beginning in 1975.
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Maria Luisa Ceciarelli
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Monica Vitti (born 3 November 1931) is an Italian actress best known for her starring roles in films directed by Michelangelo Antonioni during the early 1960s. After working with Antonioni, Vitti changed focus and began making comedies, working with director Mario Monicelli on many films. She has appeared opposite Marcello Mastroianni, Richard Harris, and Dirk Bogarde. Vitti won five David di Donatello Awards for best Actress, seven Italian Golden Globes for Best Actress, the Career Golden Globe, and the Venice Film Festival Career Golden Lion Award.
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