-Runtime: 112 minutes

-Released on July 6, 2012

-Production Company: Medusa Film, Gravier Productions, Perdido Productions, Mediapro (support)

-Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

-Rated R

-Budget: $23 million [1]

-Gross: $16.6 million US [2] $56.5 million foreign [2] $73.2 million total [2]

-Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1

-Woody Allen: “I was trying to think about what it is about Rome that hits me, how it’s so energetic and chaotic, with a ton of traffic and cars and people mingling, and some places with no sidewalks … the way everyone is out on the streets, sitting on steps or in cafes, the constant motion, the great flair for living with food and fashion and movies, and I couldn’t convey it with one story. I wanted to write about tourists, and people who live there, and people coming from small towns, with all the romance and chaos and emotion. So, it needed a number of stories.” -Woody Allen explaining the concept of "To Rome with Love" in The Globe and Mail

 

-Woody Allen: “I make films for literate people. I have to assume there are many millions of people in the world who are educated and literate and want sophisticated entertainment that does not cater to the lowest common denominator and is not all about car crashes and bathroom jokes.” [9]

 

-The shadow of Allen's career hangs over To Rome with Love in much the same way, as both desire and regret. He may not have been, as his character laments about his days as an avant-garde opera director, "a little fast for mass appeal," but the film is in touch with an absurdist streak that has long since passed from his aesthetic. [13]

"To Rome with Love" Screening Companion

"At last, I'm a foreign filmmaker"

 

-As the title suggests, "To Rome with Love" is set and filmed in Rome, and Allen gives the Eternal City the same glossy, postcard treatment he gave Barcelona, London and Paris. So breath-taking are this movie’s backdrops, they genuinely compete with the foreground for your attention. Allen’s European movies, perhaps not coincidentally, have all been among his most popular. If his career in narrative film ever hits a dead end, Allen could make a name for himself in travelogues. [3]

 

-He believes the seven movies he has made over the past seven years – four in London and the others in Barcelona, Paris and Rome – give him the right to that description. “I always wanted to be a foreign filmmaker,” he says seriously. “But I’m from Brooklyn so I couldn’t be because I wasn’t foreign. But all of a sudden, through happy accidents, I’ve become one, to such a degree that I’m even writing subtitles. So I’m thrilled with that. [9]

 

-“The language is never a problem because when you’re making a movie there are only a few things you ever talk about and you learn them right away. I did three pictures with a Chinese cameraman who didn’t speak a word of English – not a word. And it didn’t matter at all because we were only talking about the lighting and the angle.” [9]

 

-It is no secret that Woody Allen will make a movie anywhere that finance is available without any interference. “Europeans started to finance my films very, very generously,” he says, “and they did so under my rules, which means they don’t interfere with me in any way, they don’t read my scripts, they don’t know what I’m doing and they just have faith that I’ll make a film that won’t embarrass anyone. It started off in London in 2004 with Match Point and then I kept going.” [9]

 

-Allen: No, I never wanted to or expected to make a film outside of New York. New York became very, very expensive. The same $18 million spent in Barcelona or Rome goes much further there. I've had six other offers since then. ... I don't know if I could do that indefinitely. [4]

 

-Woody Allen: “I’ve been lucky that the films that I’ve made in foreign countries have been coming out good, and I’m sure the fact that I’m not making them in New York has been one contributing factor.” [7]

 

-As critic Annette Insdorf noted in the PBS American Masters documentary about him last year, Allen is no longer just a New York director; he defines a cosmopolitan genre. He has inspired a French Woody Allen (Yvan Attal ), an Argentine Woody Allen (Daniel Burman), and an Italian Woody Allen (Gianni Di Gregorio). [8]

Woody's Italian influence

 

-“I had been speaking to the Italian people for years about doing a film there and when they said they’d finance it of course I was happy to shoot it there,” he says. “I felt it lent itself to so many diverse tales. If you stop a hundred Romans they’ll tell you: 'I’m from the city, I know it well and I could give you a million stories.’ ” [9]

 

“Italian movies were a great staple of our cultural diet. They were a tremendous influence in terms of showing us that one could make movies about mature subjects with profound themes.” [5]

 

Mr. Allen spoke to Dave Itzkoff about four movies by Italian filmmakers that influenced him most profoundly. “They invented a method of telling a story and suddenly for us lesser mortals it becomes all right to tell a story that way,” Mr. Allen said. “We do our versions of them, never as shockingly innovative or brilliant as when the masters did them." [The four movies: The Bicycle Thief, Shoeshine, Blow-Up, Amarcord] ” [5]

 

-The opera episode in [To Rome with Love] should have special resonance for classical-music fans in Los Angeles who had a chance to experience Allen's first opera production in 2008.  The Oscar-winning filmmaker staged "Gianni Schicchi," the third part of Puccini's "Il Trittico," for L.A. Opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to critical acclaim. Allen's production of "Gianni Schicchi" was an homage to Italian comedy films of the 1950s, such as "Big Deal on Madonna Street." The set and costumes evoked a black-and-white movie, and the singers performed in a broadly comical style. The staging, which was designed by frequent Allen collaborator Santo Loquasto, featured a projected opening credit sequence using the filmmaker's signature font type. Following the run in L.A., Allen's production traveled to the Spoleto Festival in Italy in 2009. [12]

 

 

Getting older

 

-Despite critics continued clamor for Woody to craft a "Geriatrics Manhattan" type film dealing with the director's own feelings on getting older, he is actually doing just that. "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" is a tale of the anxious way in which an old man faces death. "Midnight in Paris" tackles nostalgia in that the main character would rather look backwards than forwards to escape his eventual doom. "To Rome with Love" Woody looks for new meaning of life in old age and passes on his years of wisdom to the next generation. [WAW]

 

-There’s something testamentary about this new movie, a passing-along of some crucial wisdom regarding how to live in the face of death. It emerges most clearly in the tale involving two of its younger protagonists, a young Italian couple who have moved to Rome from Pordenone (the home of a great silent-film festival) and who have their lives planned out in great detail but find that a little unexpected chaos—and unexpected desires—intrude. [6]

 

-The press of time is built into the movie, foremost through the character played by Allen himself, Jerry, a former classical-record executive and avant-garde opera director who is now retired and is miserable in retirement. (His wife, played by Judy Davis, tells him, “You equate retirement with death.”) Death was already on Allen’s mind (he comically dramatized his own in “Scoop”) and, in “To Rome with Love,” he rages against it, not with a tantrum of furious living but by means of art itself. Jerry the cowardly lion comes back with a great, guffaw-like roar in the face of his destiny and, in the process, alters the paths of others and tweaks the very history of his art form. [6]

 

-“When I write a script, if there is a part for me, then I play it. As I’ve gotten older, the parts have diminished. I liked it when I was younger, I could always play the lead in the movie. I could do all the romantic scenes with the women, and it was fun and I liked to play that. Now, I’m older and I’m reduced to playing the backstage doorman or the uncle, or something, and I don’t really love that. Occasionally, when a part comes up, I’ll play it.” [7]

 

-Woody Allen: "I find [getting older] a lousy deal. There is no advantage getting older. You don’t get smarter, you don’t get wiser, you don’t get more mellow, you don’t get more kindly, nothing good happens. Your back hurts more, you get more indigestion, your eyesight isn’t as good, you need a hearing aid. It’s a bad business getting old and I would advise you not to do it if you can avoid it. It doesn’t have a romantic quality. [10]

 

-Woody Allen at Cannes in 2010: "My relationship with death remains the same. I am very strongly against it."

Trivia

 

-To Rome With Love was originally titled The Bop Decameron, before being changed to Nero Fiddled. Woody Allen changed it when he realized that few people understood the title's loose reference to The Decameron, a medieval collection of novellas. [1] The new title was still met with confusion, so he settled on the final title To Rome with Love, although he has stated that he hates this title. [11]

 

-The movie opens with a traffic cop giving an introduction to his city. That guy is a real traffic cop. [3]

 

-Close to half the movie is in Italian, making this the first film of Allen’s to deviate so heavily from his native language (Vicky Cristina Barcelona had only the occasional Spanish interlude).  [3]

 

-The credits for this movie are in Italian — making this the first Woody Allen movie to have them in a language other than English. [3]

 

-Opened in wide release in Italy several months before it opened in Great Britain or the United States. [3]

 

-To Rome with Love was a big hit in Italy, where it ranks as one of the most popular movies of 2012, grossing $9.5 million. [2] [3]

 

-Incidentally, Woody announced his return to acting via press release saying he’d cast “the greatest of all my favorite actors — me.” [3]

 

-The term 'Ozymandias Melancholy' was invented by Woody Allen for his 1980 movie "Stardust Memories" (1980). [1]

 

 

-Woody Allen's first acting role in five pictures and six years. His last was in Scoop (2006). [1] Six years marks the longest stretch of time Woody Allen has gone without acting in a movie. [3]

 

-Woody Allen is Jesse Eisenberg's favorite director. This may what have drawn the young actor to one of his first films, "The Squid and the Whale" a very Woody Allenish film.

 

-Noomi Rapace (Prometheus, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sweden) was considered to play the role that went to Penélope Cruz. [1]

 

-Roberto Benigni's first appearance in a wide American release since Pinocchio (2002), and only his second since his Academy Award winning performance in Life Is Beautiful(1997). It is his first appearance in an American produced and directed film since Son of the Pink Panther (1993). [1]

 

-Aaron Johnson and Robert Pattinson auditioned for a role. [1]

 

-Soon-to-be-classic Woodyism from "To Rome with Love:" “Don’t psychoanalyze me! Many have tried. All have failed." -Woody Allen

 

-Darius Khondji is the Cinematographer. His work includes Se7en, Panic Room, Anything Else, Funny Games, Midnight in Paris, and Woody's 2014 film, Magic in the Moonlight. He was born in Tehran, Iran. [1]

 

-Architectural Digest wrote an interesting article on the sets of To Rome With Love. http://www.architecturaldigest.com/ad/set-design/2012/woody-allen-to-rome-with-love-movie-sets-article

Critical Reception

 

-Roger Ebert for the Chicago Sun-Times wrote: "'To Rome With Love' isn't great Woody Allen. Here is a man who has made a feature every year since 1969, give or take a few, and if they cannot all be great Woody, it's churlish to complain if they're only good Woody. His previous film, "Midnight in Paris," was magical. A few critics have said unkind things about his age, which strikes me as bad manners. So he's 76. Good for him. Is his timing still skilled? Is he still funny? Aren't we happy to have another picture?"

 

-Mike LaSalle for the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "Yet here's what's strange: As awful as "To Rome With Love" is - and the awfulness is unmistakable - it is, as an experience, not unpleasant. You will probably see several better movies this year that you will enjoy less. It's a mess, but it's Rome. It's a mess, but it's Woody Allen. At this point, Allen has made so many films that to watch a new one, especially one in which he appears, is to re-experience the previous ones. So when we see him in his first scene in "To Rome With Love," on a plane flying through turbulence, a hundred previous associations make us get ready to laugh."

 

-Richard Brody for The New Yorker wrote, "“To Rome with Love” is the kind of cavalierly unusual, freewheelingly inventive, devil-may-care movie that’s the mark of a veteran filmmaker in a hurry to get his most exotic ideas out while there are still the means and strength to do so."

 

-A.O. Scott for The New York Times wrote,  "One of the most delightful things about “To Rome With Love” is how casually it blends the plausible and the surreal, and how unabashedly it revels in pure silliness. The plots, which are cut together in no special order, obey different time schemes. They rarely intersect, forming a shuffled, syncopated anthology, a variation on the multi-director omnibus films that were a staple of Italian cinema in the 1950s and ’60s. The limitations of “To Rome With Love,” as frothy as the milk atop a cappuccino, are finally inseparable from its delights. Some of the scenes feel rushed and haphazardly constructed, and the dialogue frequently sounds overwritten and under-rehearsed. But this may just be to say that we are watching late-period Woody Allen. Complaining would be as superfluous — though also, perhaps, as inevitable — as psychoanalysis."

 

-Peter Debruge for Variety wrote, "By juggling such a large ensemble, Allen doesn’t really have the time or space to flesh out characters, who remain almost cartoonishly one-dimensional. But the film feels like 15% too much as it is, with each of the strands coming in slightly longer and loopier than necessary. When in Rome, Allen does as he always has, adapting the city to his sensibility. For all the red-blooded talk of philandering, the pic is remarkably chaste, and with the exception of one F-word (used as a verb), this could be the cleanest R-rated film in recent memory."

 

-Every Woody Allen Movie website critic Trevor Gilks wrote, "There’s almost nothing fresh happening here, and the wildly different content of the individual stories suggest a cobbled together movie in lieu of a whole one. Allen has described diversion-filled movies like Deconstructing Harry as good opportunities to purge half-finished ideas, and half-finished ideas is exactly what this movie is full of. To Rome With Love is just another Woody Allen movie. Neither good, bad nor unique enough to warrant a special place in Allen’s filmography, but filled with many of the things that make Woody Allen movies such a cherished commodity." [3]

 

-43% Rotten Tomatoes rating

[1] - imdb.com

[2] - Box Office Mojo

[3] - www.EveryWoodyAllenMovie.com

[4] - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/23/to-rome-with-love-woody-allen-intervew_n_1621051.html

[5] - http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/movies/woody-allen-on-italian-movies-and-to-rome-with-love.html?_r=0

[6] - http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/movies/2012/06/woody-allen-to-rome-with-love.html

[7] - http://www.iamrogue.com/news/interviews/item/6727-iar-interview-woody-allen-talks-to-rome-with-love.html

[8] - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/film/at-76-woody-allen-shows-no-signs-of-slowing-down/article4387710/?page=1

[9] - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/9510047/Woody-Allen-interview-At-last-Im-a-foreign-filmmaker.html

[10] - http://the-talks.com/interviews/woody-allen/

[11] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Rome_with_Love_(film)

[12] - http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/09/entertainment/la-et-cm-woody-allen-opera--to-rome-with-love-20120629

[13] - http://brightlightsfilm.com/79/79-ozymandias-melancholia-woody-allen-to-rome-with-love-romance-personal-brennan.php#.UuXpsWQo6X0