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MONICA BELLUCCI has achieved popular and critical acclaim through out Europe for her films and is now commanding the same respect and admiration for her work in such internationally renowned films as Giuseppe Tornatore's Oscar-nominated Malena and Christophe Gans' French box-office sensation, The Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte des Loups).

Ms. Bellucci grew up in the Umbrian town of Citta di Castello, idolizing such global cinema icons as Sophia Loren, Anna Magnani, Gina Lollabrigida and Claudia Cardinale. Her own ascent to stardom began in Milan, where she was studying law when a friend urged her to try modeling. Spotted by a director in a magazine layout, she was lured from her university studies and has worked as an actress ever since.

She also captured the attention of director Francis Ford Coppola, who cast Ms. Bellucci in her first American role, as one of Dracula's brides in his 1992 adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula. She returned to Italy and appeared in numerous films, including Il Cielo e Sempre Piu Blu, Palla di Neve and I Mitici, among others.

Ms. Bellucci garnered further acclaim in her first French-language film, the 1996 thriller L'Appartement. She won a Cesar (the French equivalent of the Academy Award). The film also marked the first of many collaborations with her future husband, French actor Vincent Cassel. The two have starred in films including their most recent together, Gaspar Noe's provocative thriller, Irreversible, which was an official competition selection at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and made its American debut at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. Ms. Bellucci's film credits also include Under Suspicion, Franck Spadone, Le Plaisir and Mediterranees.

2003 yielded increased visibility for Ms. Bellucci in the United States and around the world. In addition to Irreversible, she co-starred with Bruce Willis in Tears of the Sun and appeared opposite Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne in the Wachowski Brother's wildly-anticipated dual sequels, The Matrix: Reloaded and The Matrix: Revolutions. In 2004, she appeared in one of the year's most talked-about films, portraying Mary Magdalene in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. Having recently co-starred in the French release, Agents Secrets, Ms. Bellucci will be seen next in She Hate Me and The Brothers Grimm.


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