Monica Bellucci has said she understands the suppression of women because Italy is still very macho.
The Matrix Reloaded star plays Mina, the wife of a a Kurdish poet who was unjustly incarcerated during Iran's Islamic Revolution in new film Rhino Season. The Italian actress and fashion model said she could relate to the culture of the film, even though it is seems on the surface so different to her own.
Monica said: "People can ask how is it possible for a European woman, who has all her freedom and can do everything she wants, and go everywhere she wants to go, to play a woman like that.
"But I have to say I can understand her even though she's so far away from what I know because I come from a country, Italy, where until 60 years ago - which is nothing - a woman could have been killed by her husband and he would not go to prison because it would be described as a crime of passion.
"I come from a country where, until a few years ago, virginity was still an essential thing for marriage.
"So I come from a macho culture and women in my country had to fight for their rights and they still do. So maybe that's why I understand Mina."
The 47-year-old actress - who is married to French actor Vincent Cassel - insisted it had not been difficult to learn a new language for the film.
She said: "You know I speak Italian, French, English, and now I can speak Fasi."