La finestra di fronte
Award winning Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno, the daughter of actor Vittorio Mezzogiorno (died in 1994), first made an impact in her native country with her portrayal of Porzia Colonna in her debut, “Il viaggio della sposa” (1997). She further showcased her talent in such films as “Del perduto amor” (1998), “L' ultimo bacio” (2001), “Ilaria Alpi - Il più crudele dei giorni” (2002), “L’Amore ritorna” (2004) and the Oscar nominated “La Bestia Nel Cuore” (2005). She won a David di Donatello Award for her starring role of Giovanna in the hit drama “La finestra di fronte” (2003), for which she also collected Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists' Silver Ribbon Award, a Flaiano Film Festival Award, a Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Award, a Bangkok International Film Festival Award, and a nomination at the European Film Awards. In Hollywood, Mezzogiorno is probably best known for starring in Mike Newell's “Love in the Time of Cholera” (2007), costarring Javier Bardem and Benjamin Bratt. Her more recent and upcoming film projects include Wim Wenders' “Palermo Shooting” (2008, with Dennis Hopper), “Sono viva” (2008), “Vincere” (2009) and “La prima linea” (2009).
As for her romantic life, Mezzogiorno dated fellow Italian actor Stefano Accorsi for a long period until 2001. They had worked together in three movies: “Più leggero non basta” (1999, TV), “Un uomo perbene” (1999) and “L'ultimo bacio” (2001). After the couple broke up, she began a relationship with Daniele Anzellotti, who worked on the film “La finestra di fronte.” They became engaged in 2003.
Born in Rome, Mezzogiorno currently resides in Rome, Milan and Paris. She speaks fluent French. She has two tattoos on the inner side of her ankles: a “V” sign that represents her father's name, and the scorpion zodiac sign.
Childhood and Family:
Giovanna Mezzogiorno was born on November 9, 1974, in Rome, Italy, to actors Vittorio Mezzogiorno and Cecilia Sacchi. She grew up watching her parents on set, but wanted to become a ballerina. She studied dance for over a decade.
When she was 19 years old, her father passed away. Shortly thereafter, she relocated to Paris and spent two years working at Peter Brook's theater laboratory. By age 21, she had launched a career in acting.
Giovanna's family name means 'midday' in Italian.
Love in the Time of Cholera
An aspiring ballerina, Giovanna Mezzogiorno worked for two years at the Peter Brook Workshop (Le Centre International de Créations Théatrales) in Paris following the death of her father and kicked off her acting career playing the role of Ofelia in a 1995 stage production of “Qui est là,” based on Shakespeare's “Hamlet.” In 1996, the talented thespian was handed the Premio Coppola-Prati award.
Mezzogiorno hit the big screen when she landed the starring role of Porzia Colonna in the comedy “Il viaggio della sposa/The Bride's Journey” (1997), opposite Sergio Rubini who also directed and wrote the script. After the promising debut, she was awarded the Premio Flaiano as Best Actress of the 1997-1998 season and the Targa d'Argento for New Talent in Italian Cinema. She also received the Globo d'Oro, an honor presented by the Foreign Press Association. Mezzogiorno continued to gain recognition with her portrayal of Liliana in “Del perduto amor” (1998), from which she won the Silver Ribbon for Best Actress at the 1999 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists. In the drama, she costarred with Fabrizio Bentivoglio and “Il viaggio della sposa” costar Sergio Rubini.
The Italian actress was seen on television with the supporting role of Elena, a young girl with muscular dystrophy, in the based-on-novel “Più leggero non basta/A lighter burden to bear” (1999) and resumed her film career by playing the role of Enzo Tortora's (played by Michele Placido) daughter in Maurizio Zaccaro's “Uomo perbene, Un.” She then appeared as Anna in Antonello Luigi Grimaldi's “Asini,” alongside Claudio Bisio.
Entering the new millennium, Mezzogiorno got her first international role in the TV miniseries “Les Miserables,” along with Gérard Depardieu, Christian Clavier, John Malkovich and Virginie Ledoyen. Directed by Josée Dayan and scripted by Didier Decoin and based on Victor Hugo's novel, the show was broadcasted in France and the United States on September 4, 2000, and January 7, 2001, respectively. The brown haired actress, however, did not enjoy her next triumph until she starred as the pregnant girlfriend, Giulia, in Gabriele Muccino's “L' ultimo bacio/The Last Kiss” (2001), opposite Stefano Accorsi. The film accumulated a number of awards and nominations, including five David di Donatello Awards, three Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists' Silver Ribbons, and an Audience Award for World Cinema at the Sundance Film Festival. As for Mezzogiorno, her performance was applauded and she won the Best Actress Award at the 2001 Flaiano Film Festival. Also in 2001, Mezzogiorno worked in Eros Puglielli's “Tutta la conoscenza del mondo/All There Is to Know,” Fabio Carpi's “Nobel,” opposite Hector Altero and Stanislas Merhar, and Fabio Conversi's “Malefemmene,” in which she starred as Francesca. She next starred as Ilaria Alpi in the Ferdinando Vicentini Orgnani film “Ilaria Alpi - Il più crudele dei giorni/The Cruelest Day” (2002). For her good acting job, Mezzogiorno picked up a Silver Ribbon for Best Actress.
Mezzogiorno acquired even more recognition and success with her next film, “La finestra di fronte/Facing Windows,” a 2003 drama helmed by Ferzan Ozpetek and written by Ozpetek and Gianni Romoli. The film was a big hit with critics and audiences and Mezzogiorno, who starred as Giovanna, a married accountant who falls for Lorenzo (played by Raoul Bova), picked up a David di Donatello for Best Actress, a Silver Ribbon for Best Actress, an Audience Award for Best Actress at the 2003 Flaiano Film Festival, a Karlovy Vary International Film Festival for Best Actress, and the Golden Kinnaree Award for Best Actress at the 2004 Bangkok International Film Festival. She was also nominated for European Film's Audience Award for Best Actress.
Mezzogiorno teamed up with Klaus Maria Brandauer, Stephen Moyer, Thomas Heinze and Ken Duken for the French made-for-TV film “Il segreto di Thomas/Daddy” (2003), directed by Giacomo Battiato. She won her next Silver Ribbon for her scene stealing role of Lena in the Sergio Rubini directed “L’Amore ritorna/Love Returns” (2004), which starred Fabrizio Bentivoglio and Margherita Buy. It was followed by a starring role in Livia Giampalmo's “Stai con me” (2004), opposite Adriano Giannini and Marta Mondelli. She then returned to French cinema with “Au secours, j'ai 30 ans” (2004), a comedy adapted from a novel by Marian Keyes, and starred as Virginia Maria de Leyva in an Italian TV film called “Virginia, la monaca di Monza.” She then appeared on stage in director Piero Maccarinelli's “4.48 Psicosi.”
In 2005, Mezzogiorno's career received another major boost when she landed the starring role of Sabrina, opposite Alessio Boni as Franco, in Cristina Comencini's “La Bestia Nel Cuore/The Beast in the Heart.” The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film of 2006 and a Golden Lion at the 2005 Venice International Film Festival, where Mezzogiorno received the Volpi Cup for Best Actress for her performance. She also picked up David and Silver Ribbon nominations.
After a short break, in 2007 Mezzogiorno appeared in Francesca Archibugi's drama “Lezioni di volo/Flying Lessons,” alongside Andrea Miglio Risi and Anna Galiena, Davide Marengo's “Notturno bus/Night Bus,” with Valerio Mastandrea and Ennio Fantastichini, and the French drama “Les murs porteurs,” directed and written by Cyril Gelblat and starring Miou-Miou and Charles Berling. It was also in 2007 that Mezzogiorno made her Hollywood debut with Mike Newell's big screen adaptation of Gabriel García Márquez's book, “Love in the Time of Cholera.” The dramatic romance was centered on a love triangle between Fermina Daza (played by Mezzogiorno) and her two suitors, Florentino Ariza (played by Spanish actor Javier Bardem) and Doctor Juvenal Urbino (played by American actor Benjamin Bratt).
Mezzogiorno returned to Italy after her American debut for 2008's “L'amore non basta,” directed by Stefano Chiantini, before traveling to Germany to film “Palermo Shooting” (2008), which was directed by German-born Wim Wenders and featured Dennis Hopper. Later that same year, she starred as Stefania in “Sono viva” (2008).
Recently, Mezzogiorno completed filming “Vincere” (2009), a drama about Mussolini's secret lover Ida Dalser (played by Mezzogiorno) and their son. The film was directed by Marco Bellocchio. She will also star as Susanna Ronconi in the based-on-fact “La prima linea/Front Line” (2009), directed by Renato De Maria. In the movie, she will costar with Riccardo Scamarcio.
Venice Film Festival: Volpi Cup, Best Actress, “La Bestia Nel Cuore,” 2005
Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists: Silver Ribbon, Best Supporting Actress (Migliore Attrice non Protagonista), “L’Amore ritorna,” 2005
Bangkok International Film Festival: Golden Kinnaree Award, Best Actress, “La finestra di fronte,” 2004
David di Donatello: Best Actress (Migliore Attrice Protagonista), “La finestra di fronte,” 2003
Flaiano Film Festival: Audience Award, Best Actress, “La finestra di fronte,” 2003
Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists: Silver Ribbon, Best Actress (Migliore Attrice Protagonista), “Ilaria Alpi - Il più crudele dei giorni” and “La finestra di fronte,” 2003
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival: Best Actress, “La finestra di fronte,” 2003
Flaiano Film Festival: Best Actress, “L' ultimo bacio,” 2001
Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists: Silver Ribbon, Best Actress (Migliore Attrice Protagonista), “Del perduto amore,” 1999
Venice Film Festival: Pasinetti Award, Best Actress, 1998