×

San Sebastián: Monica Bellucci Charms Before Receiving Donostia Award

The actress looked back on a career nearing three decades, the poetry of violence, and Hollywood's slow improvement for actresses over 50

SAN SEBASTIAN — Monica Bellucci will be the latest actor to receive a Donostia Award in San Sebastián, the highest honor given by the festival. In anticipation of the evening’s ceremony, Bellucci hosted a brief press conference.

Dressed elegantly in a black suit with a white button-down shirt, she answered questions from the assembled press for nearly forty minutes before heading off to prepare for the evening’s festivities.

Bellucci started acting for TV in her home country of Italy in 1990. It wasn’t long before Bellucci’s talent started to gain international recognition in the film industry, and by 1992 she made her first American feature appearance in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.” But, it was 1996’s “The Apartment” that really launched her to international stardom, earning her a César Award nomination.

Her career has crossed decades, borders and genres, but one common theme among her films, and the questions asked of her at the press conference, was violence.

“I think this duality between poetry and violence has always been part of my career. I think the poetry in violence is part of my work,” said Bellucci when asked to reflect on her role in 2001’2 “Malena.” Of the film, she said she has “very beautiful memories. I shot for five months in Sicily with Giuseppe Tornatore. It went all over the world and gave me a chance to work around the world.”

When asked about her standout role in “Irreversible” a year later, the actress recalled that “when the film came out in Cannes, it was a scandal in some ways. People thought it was too violent.” Without disputing the claim, she went on to point out that “today it’s a cult movie, and young students study it at university.”

In regards to contemporary European cinema, and any difficulties it is facing, Bellucci argued that outside of France, the main problem isn’t a lack of talent, but rather a lack of funding.

“There is so much talent, actors and directors are very talented but the problem is more economic and political.” Using France as an example, she said that while government funding for the arts in that country leads to more than 250 films being made each year, a country like Italy will produce less than half that count.

The most common lines of questions, however, regarded gender. “We have more courage to talk and say what we need to say,” responded Bellucci when asked to comment on life as an actress over 50. “In cinema, we see this very much, it’s why we see all those incredible actresses with great careers after so many years. It’s beautiful to see this evolution.”

Her final reflection seemed especially poignant on an evening dedicated to looking back over her career. “When you make a movie, you make it and you don’t know what is going to happen.” She paused a moment before applying the sentiment to her three decades in front of the camera, “Maybe I’ll understand why I made some of my choices later. Maybe later.”

More Film

  • Photo taken July 18, 2019, from

    Japan's Kyoto Animation Suffers Deadly Arson Attack

    An arson attack on the Kyoto Animation company on Thursday morning has injured several dozen people and killed at least one. Emergency services in Kyoto City received a call around 10.35 a.m. local time reporting an explosion on the first floor. The blaze quickly spread across the whole of the three story building. According to [...]

  • sith trooper

    Sith Trooper Revealed From 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'

    “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” revealed a new storm trooper uniform Wednesday at San Diego Comic Con as part of a special exhibit celebrating the evolution of the storm trooper design. Dubbed the Sith trooper, the new uniform sports all-red armor plates with a matching red and black blaster. Also decorating the armor is [...]

  • Dunkirk

    Harry Styles Is the Perfect Prince Eric; Why He'd Rock 'Little Mermaid' Role

    Could Harry Styles be the perfect Prince Eric? One day after the announcement that the One Direction star is “in early negotiations to play the iconic ‘Little Mermaid’ role,” the internet exploded with speculation as to how he would portray the object of Ariel’s affections. “I can see lots of reasons why Harry is perfect,” [...]

  • The Lion King

    Film News Roundup: PETA Sponsors Rescued Lion in Jon Favreau's Name

    In today’s film news roundup, PETA honors Jon Favreau for “The Lion King,” “Tigers Are Not Afraid” gets a theatrical release, a Kirk Franklin biopic is in development and “The Sixth Sense” gets an anniversary showing in Philadelphia. HONOR The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is sponsoring a rescued lion to honor director [...]

  • Tokyo Director-in-Focus-at-Japan-Now

    Nobuhiko Obayashi set as Japanese Director in Focus at Tokyo Film Festival

    Indie director, Nobuhiko Obayashi will be feted as the director in focus at the Japan Now section of this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival. The festival will give a world premiere to his “Labyrinth of Cinema.” Supporting his art by shooting commercials, Obayashi is an indie whose dreamy works have influenced numerous other directors in [...]

  • Jimmi Simpson Joins Russell Crowe Movie

    Jimmi Simpson Joins Russell Crowe Thriller 'Unhinged' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jimmi Simpson will play a key role in “Unhinged,” Variety has learned. He joins an impressive cast that includes Oscar-winner Russell Crowe and Caren Pistorius. Solstice Studios is producing the psychological thriller, which is currently filming in New Orleans. “Unhinged” centers on a woman named Rachel (Pistorius), who leans on her horn at the wrong [...]

  • David Crosby

    David Crosby Says New Documentary 'Remember My Name' Is Like 'Being Naked in Public’

    “It’s not easy. It’s hard being naked in public,” David Crosby, the legendary troubadour of classic rock, reflected at Tuesday night’s New York City premiere of “David Crosby: Remember My Name.” “I don’t know what to do here. There’s no guitars, no drums,” he laughed. Directed by newcomer A.J. Eaton and produced by the legendary [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content