Features October 5, 2007 By Dennis Lim
image1 asia Asia Argento
Asia Argento at the Chelsea Hotel. Black Silk Spider Gown Maison Martin Margiela. Photography by Mary Rozzi

title asia Asia Argento

Asia Argento turns 32 this year, but the movie star, cult auteur, sex symbol, and multilingual, multi-tattooed polymath has already squeezed more chapters into her willful, unpredictable career than most people manage in a lifetime. She started out as a teen ingénue in her native Italy, starring in romantic comedies and the horror movies of her father, Dario Argento. Crossing over to American films, most conspicuously as a sultry spy opposite Vin Diesel in 2002’s extreme-sports thriller xXx, she briefly attained It Girl status in Hollywood. Keen to retain her outsider credentials, though, she poured her energies into her own filmmaking, directing herself in two brash, image-warping vehicles: Scarlet Diva and The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things. She continued to pop up on the periphery of other people’s movies, gravitating to fashionable filmmakers like Sofia Coppola (Marie Antoinette) and Gus Van Sant (Last Days). And that’s not even counting her extracurricular roles as author, model, musician, and DJ. Without sacrificing her trademark aura of transgression, this international woman of mystery has now entered her mature phase as a serious actress — albeit a serious actress who’s not above tongue-kissing a dog onscreen if so required. Argento’s unofficial coronation as a pan-global art-film icon took place at the Cannes Film Festival this year, where she had the lead role in two new movies by pedigreed directors: Olivier Assayas’s Boarding Gate (which will open in the U.S. this winter) and Catherine Breillat’s An Old Mistress (slated for a 2008 release).

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