Friday, April 13, 2012
By: Vickie J. Rubinson
Woody Allen says his new movie "To Rome, With Love," is a tribute to all the old Italian films that influenced him as a young artist but he has one wish, that more Italians could hear his voice in the original rather than the dubbed versions.
The film, which stars Allen, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg and Ellen Page had its world premiere in the Eternal City today.
Made up of four separate stories, it is his first set in Rome, which Allen called "a feast for a filmmaker." It is also his latest set in a European capital, following London, Barcelona and Paris.
"I grew up on Italian cinema. I have always been an enormous admirer of Italian movies. Anything that appears in the movie that is redolent of Italian cinema is strictly something that I have absorbed through osmosis over the years and it comes out," he said at a news conference.
Allen,76, grew up in Brooklyn and, after writing for television, started his career as a stand-up comic in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, where he saw many of the great Italian films of the 1950s and 1960s.
Originally, Woody Allen wanted to call his 43rd film "The Bop Decameron." But nobody got the reference to 14th-century Italian literature. "Not even in Italy." says Allen. Then he tried Nero Fiddles. But overseas distributors objected. "I guess it's an American expression," he says. Finally, he settled on To Rome With Love, again including a European city in his titles, like last year's Midnight in Paris, the biggest hit of his career.
The film presents various romantic vignettes in the Italian capital acted by a big international cast, with Allen himself appearing on screen for the first time since 2006's Scoop. "I give my traditional non-acting performance," he says. "I whine my way through it."