Emir Kusturica

Perhaps she will be able to merge her comedic and dramatic impulses with a newly announced project: a collaboration with last year’s president of the Jury here, Emir Kusturica (“Underground,” “Arizona Dream”), who is known for the somewhat tragicomic aspects of his style. “It’s not the Pancho Villa one, ['Wild Roses, Tender Roses,' also on the filmmaker’s slate],” she says, “it’s a love story and Emir is going to play my partner and he’s going direct. We’re going to film in Serbia and I will play a Serbian woman.”

And as a vocal fan of Indian cinema saying, “...one of my favourites is ‘Bandit Queen,’ ” and she has apparently been offered the chance to star as Indian leader Sonia Gandhi in a biopic. However “…the script was not good… It was not ready, it needs much more work. But when it’s ready I’ll be very happy to play Sonia Gandhi. She’s incredible, amazing.”

However Bellucci's priorities have naturally changed since becoming a mother. “Of course my ambitions are different, because it’s not only about me any more. My life is not my own… you have to be careful that your kids don’t become victims of your work.” And of course, that provides some logistical issues when your husband is also an in-demand actor. “We see each other once in a while, we make kids. . . and then we have to find a way that ‘if I work you don’t work,’ so it’s ‘you work January-February and I’ll stay with the kids, and then I shoot March-April and you’re gonna stay with the kids.’ ” She frowns a bit (beautifully). “We hardly see each other.”

The Ages Of Love Monica Bellucci Robert De Niro

And indeed, the Rio Carnival-set film that was in planning stages as a possible onscreen reteaming of Vincent Cassel and Bellucci will have to wait for now, it seems. “We have a project but not right away.”

Possibly identifying the feeling in himself, someone asks Bellucci if she ever gets starstruck, especially in relation to working with Robert De Niro recently (in Italian comedy “The Ages of Love”). “No, I was not nervous, not at all, he was so nice we had a great relation, I would love to work with him again… I am too old. When I was young, I remember first working with Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman and I was trembling. And now [makes an airy gesture].”

Aging, albeit as imperceptibly as she seems to be doing it, has other rewards too. Not only does she suggest that fifteen years ago she would simply not have had the life experience to play the role in “Rhino Season,” but also that in general she feels like a better actress now than she was before. “I’m sure that I’m better now, because I am less scared now. And the less scared you are the more you open your heart, and the more you open your heart the better actress you are.”