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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ornella Muti: Four decades of Acting and Still Going Strong

Ornella Muti was born Francesca Romana Rivelli in Rome in 1955 to a Neapolitan father and an Estonian mother. She began her career as a model during her teenage years and made her film debut in 1970 with La Moglie più bella (The Most Beautiful Wife).  Her follow-up role was in the 1971 film, Sole nella pelle (Sun on the Skin) in which she played the daughter of wealthy parents who runs off with a hippie they don’t approve of. The film offers a telling journey through Italian society in the seventies with the political climate, the breathtaking seaside as well as the styles and cars of that time.  Much of the film is set amid the sunny Italian seaside, and succeeds in capturing the innocence and beauty of first love.  

Muti made her American film debut in 1980 with Flash Gordon. She played the role of Princess Aura.  She’s appeared in two other American films, including, Oscar, which was directed by John Landis and featured Don Ameche, Chaz Palminteri and Sylvester Stallone. In 1992, she was part of the all-star cast of Eugene Levy’s Once Upon a Crime.  Since then, she’s chosen roles mostly in Italy and France.

Muti’s range is impressive. Although she’s been granted such titles in her films as "appasionata" and "bilingual lover", her extraordinary beauty does not keep her from playing roles that focus more on her the soul and conflicts of her characters. She’s naturally funny and brings to her roles a subtle sense of humor. This was most apparent in Lo zio d’America in which Muti acted opposite Christian De Sica. The story highlights the usual drama found within any given Italian family and the whole host of unfortunate circumstances and coincidences that follow the protagonist. The film earned such rave reviews, a sequel was made and aired shortly thereafter on RAI Italia.

Muti has three children. Her oldest daughter, Naike Rivelli, is following in her mother’s footsteps. The 32-year-old actress works mostly in Italy and Germany, and is versatile with the projects that she accept, taking on thrillers, dramas and the occasional period piece. She received positive reviews for her role in the 2008 horror flick Open Graves about a group of surfers who discover an old board game that claims a life every time it's played. 

My moment with Ornella Muti in Maratea, Italy
These days, Ornella Muti is enjoying her social media celebrity status. She posts pictures and videos of old films, nostalgic memories, her beautiful family and special appearances. She recently received an award for her diversified career at the Giornate del Cinema Lucano, an annual film festival, which takes place in the gorgeous seaside town of Maratea in southern Italy. That's where I had the pleasure of meeting her. Although I was a bit star-struck, having watched her movies for some 20 years, she was gracious in posing for a picture with this nutty American fan. I've read on several websites that she has a home in Russia and is looking to obtain citizenship. I recommend  checking her out on Instagram, where you can follow her many fun and zany mother-daughter adventures with Naike Rivelli.

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