Italian actress Monica Vitti died twice. The first on May 3, 1988 when the newspaper ‘Le Monde’ published the great exclusive of his suicide. The second on February 2, 2022.
Almost 34 years ago, the French newspaper headlined two columns on the front page: “Mónica Vitti, Antonioni’s emblematic actress, dies.” Next, it was explained that he had committed suicide in Rome at the age of 56. And the source was a person who had called the newspaper as his representative, assuring that he had died after ingesting an overdose of barbiturates.
Apparently Vitti was very impressed by the praise of ‘Le Monde’, as she stated when she reappeared days later at an opera in the capital
Italian. Legend has it that his friend Alberto Sordi told him: “Don’t worry because they’ve already given me up for dead six times.”
Last Wednesday, the actress died for the second time in Rome. He had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for years. Cared for by her family, Antonioni’s muse lived in the shadows, she had forgotten her movies, she didn’t know who she was. It had been a long time since we stopped hearing his hoarse voice on the screens. Few remembered the diva who declared that she was afraid of having a husband and children despite the fact that she had shared part of her life with Antonioni, her mentor.
The advantage of being an actress is that you never get old. She will remain eternally young as Claudia, the woman looking for her friend on a desolate Sicilian island in ‘The Adventure’, as Vittoria, the girl who runs away from her boyfriend in ‘The Eclipse’, or as Giuliana, the young woman lost in her loneliness after suffering a car accident in ‘Red Desert’.
Monica was not as exuberant as Sophia Loren, she did not have the beauty of Claudia Cardinale, nor the sophistication of Silvana Mangano. But he radiated a closeness that connected with the feelings of the public. I had the feeling when watching her films that she could be an old friend, a comrade in fatigue. She had the gift of conveying her emotions and showing her insides. And she was an extraordinarily versatile actress, as good at comedy as she was at drama.
With Mónica also goes our youth, the afternoons at the Filmoteca, the existential anguish of Antonioni’s films, a world in which the cinema was a refuge in the mediocrity of a dictatorship that suffocated us. It was the face of freedom and also of a country convulsed by terrorism and the Mafia.
When an actress like her disappears, it is impossible to avoid nostalgia for an absence that leaves us with a void. Time is relentless and takes away everything we had loved. But Mónica Vitti is there forever, eternally young on the big screen that illuminates our dreams. This time it is the ‘the end’. Bye.