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La bella Bellucci talks about Jesus, Mel Gibson and that scene in Irréversible.
Monica Bellucci’s career seems to be swinging from one extreme to another at the moment. Currently in cinemas as Cleopatra in the Asterix & Obelix sequel, she had hardened journalists shouting abuse at her when her new film, Irréversible, was screened at Cannes earlier this year.
As well as copious ultraviolence, Irréversible features Bellucci being anally raped in a subway for nine minutes. It’s a scene that leaves nothing to the imagination. "My mum wasn’t in Cannes to watch the film, my dad was," she told me in London last week. "But my mum called me and said, ‘Monica. What have you done? People are being aggressive to me in the street. They’re saying oh my god she did this horrible movie, her career is finished!’ And I said, oh come on, it’s only a movie." So what did dad think? "He loved it. My dad is very intelligent."
The British Board of Film Classification is still deciding whether to release the film without cuts (see below for decision), although French director Gasper Noé says he’d rather withdraw it than see it censored. Especially as it’s already been released all over Europe. Monica staunchly defends the rape scene. So would she let her kids see it, if she had any? "Of course! I don’t think that children have to sit in the house and eat sugar and chocolate all day long, and think that life is just pink. Life is pink, but life is black."
Her next project is even weirder. Having just finished two Matrix sequels (both out next year, apparently), she’s about to start work on The Passion, Mel Gibson’s third turn as director. "It’s going to be very strange," she says, with glorious understatement.
Chronicling the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life, it stars James Caviezel (High Crimes) with Bellucci as Mary Magdalene. "They haven’t found any producers in America that want to do the film," she explains. "And it doesn’t have distribution yet because it’s in Aramaic, a dead language. It’s also going to be very violent." She smiles. "It’s going to be a really risky and crazy project." Frankly, I can’t wait. Jonathan Carter 17 October 02
The BBFC has now passed Irréversible without cuts for release in UK cinemas. However, they plan to "look at the film in a different context for video". It will be out in February 2003. 21 October 02
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