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MONICA BELLUCCI has achieved popular and critical acclaim throughout the world for her work in such renowned films as Giuseppe Tornatore's Oscar-nominated Malena, Irreversible and The Passion of the Christ, among many other international releases during her illustrious career.

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 at the University of Perugia, 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 her in her first American role in his 1992 adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Ms. Bellucci garnered further acclaim in her first French-language film, the 1996 thriller L'Appartement, for which 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 since starred together in such films as 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 and Spybound.

2003 yielded increased visibility for Ms. Bellucci in the United States and around the world. In addition to the American release of 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 much-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. Ms. Bellucci's film credits also include Christophe Gans' French box-office sensation, The Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte des Loups), Under Suspicion, Dobermann and Asterix: Mission Cleopatra, as well as Spike Lee's She Hate Me, Remember Me, My Love (directed by Gabriele Muccino, director of The Pursuit of Happyness) and Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm (opposite Heath Ledger and Matt Damon). After a brief hiatus from filmmaking, during which she gave birth to her daughter, Deva, Bellucci starred in Bertrand Blier's How Much Do You Love Me?, opposite Gerard Depardieu.

She will next be seen in Le Deuxieme Souffle, opposite Daniel Auteuil.

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