Famed Italian movie star Monica Vitti died this week at the age of 90.
Vitti’s passing was first announced by Walter Veltroni, a former filmmaker, Italian culture minister, and mayor of Rome, as The New York Times reported.
Roberto Russo, il suo compagno di tutti questi anni, mi chiede di comunicare che Monica Vitti non c’è più. Lo faccio con dolore, affetto, rimpianto.
— walter veltroni (@VeltroniWalter) February 2, 2022
“Farewell to Monica Vitti, farewell to the queen of Italian cinema. Today is a really sad day, a great artist and a great Italian disappeared,” read the English translation of a statement from Italy’s current minister of culture, Dario Franceschini.
Citing Italian reports, Deadline reported that Vitti passed away on Wednesday. She had reportedly battled Alzeimher’s disease for years.
Most observers seemed to agree that Vitti leaves behind a legacy as one of the greatest Italian film stars to ever live.
“The actress shot to global fame following spectacular collaborations with legendary director Michelangelo Antonioni in the late 1950s and early 1960s,” according to Deadline. “Vitti starred in L’Avventura as a detached and cool protagonist drifting into a relationship with the lover of her missing girlfriend.
“She went on to star in La Notte with Jeanne Moreau and Marcello Mastroianni and L’Eclisse with Alain Delon. Each film is considered a classic in its own right.”
Vitti shared a romantic relationship with Antonioni for a number of years, though it ultimately ended.
After “she stopped making movies with him, Ms. Vitti decided to reinvent her entire career, switching to light comedies, which at the time in Italy were dominated by male stars,” The Times reported. “Italian audiences and critics were stunned by her facility as a comedian, which many came to believe was her greatest calling.”
On social media, users remembered Vitti’s legacy:
No one captivated the screen like Monica Vitti, whose luminous presence, mysterious gaze, and intelligence as a performer made her a cinema icon synonymous with some of the greatest films ever made.
Goodnight, Monica Vitti ❤ pic.twitter.com/EPLIdfQ3bF
— Criterion Collection (@Criterion) February 2, 2022
Farewell to Monica Vitti, the screen legend known for her work with directors including Michelangelo Antonioni, Luis Buñuel, and Ettore Scola pic.twitter.com/uZ97UJkpz3
— Letterboxd (@letterboxd) February 2, 2022
— mark cousins (@markcousinsfilm) February 2, 2022
RIP Monica Vitti, an actress known for her cool beauty, thousand-yard stare & knack of making alienation look glamorous, but who could also do comedy, even in the middle of a movie as bleak as Antonioni's L'Avventura:
Monica Vitti, 1931-2022 pic.twitter.com/cih4gdq4ch
— Dana Stevens (@thehighsign) February 2, 2022
Sad and difficult to say farewell to the magnificent Monica Vitti, though we all knew she'd been ill for many years. RIP to one of cinema's greats. pic.twitter.com/cfIJBVIlI6
— Farran Nehme (@selfstyledsiren) February 2, 2022
Vitti was awarded the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion award in 1995 in honor of her illustrious career, according to NPR.
In a statement this week, Italian Premier Mario Draghi commemorated Vitti, calling her “an actress of great irony and extraordinary talent, who won over generations of Italians with her spirit, bravura and beauty. She brought prestige to the Italian cinema around the globe.”