Monica Vitti

Monica Vitti, who died at age 90 today, had the delivery of a Redgrave, the poise of Audrey Hepburn, and a nose as gorgeous as Streisand’s.

I was not surprised to read, in her obituaries, that she was classically trained as a stage actress before teaming up with Michelangelo Antonioni, in life and his great films of the 60s. Ingmar Bergman famously said, “Fellini, Kurosawa, and Buñuel move in the same field as Tarkovsky [whom he considered the greatest]. Antonioni was on his way, but expired, suffocated by his own tediousness.”

Suffocated by his own tediousness! Hilarious, as always. We’ll never know if she would have brought such life to Antonioni and screenwriter Tonino Guerra’s work (or made them tolerably less tedious, depending on your feelings about them) if she weren’t so easy on the eyes, as the saying goes. But if simple is hard, then she performed the impossible task of carrying those slow and deep stories the way Atlas holds up the sky.

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