Woody Allen's film premiere rekindles 'Dolce Vita' Rome

US director Woody Allen on Friday premiered his latest film "To Rome With Love" in which he stars alongside Penelope Cruz, rekindling some "Dolce Vita" glamour from the movie heyday of the Eternal City.

"It's like no other city. It's extremely exotic!" Allen told reporters at a press conference in a luxury hotel in the Italian capital alongside fellow stars Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg and Oscar-winning comedian Roberto Benigni.

"I grew up on Italian cinema," said the famously neurotic New Yorker.

"It would have been impossible in the years that I grew up not to be influenced by the Italian movies that were coming out in New York," he said.

Asked why some of his most recent films like "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and "Midnight in Paris" always seem to be set in European cities he quipped: "I could not make films in some rural place or in the desert.

"These cities are very similar to New York in terms of energy and culture. It's easy to live in them and to find stories there."

A question about his breathless film-a-year record also elicited a half-joking response from the 76-year-old comedy legend.

"It's a great distraction... If I wasn't making a movie, I'd be sitting at home obsessing over how terrible life is," he said.

"To Rome With Love" is made up of four vignettes and producers characterised it as "a carefree comedy, a kaleidoscopic film."

Benigni, who shot to international fame with his bittersweet Holocaust comedy "Life is Beautiful", plays an ordinary man mistaken for a celebrity and chased by paparazzi as he goes about his daily life.

"It's so rare to have a film in Italy! It's like a lunar eclipse!" said the famously hyperbolic actor, who won three Oscars in 1999 and made an impression at the award ceremony by climbing over the seats to the stage.

"We have someone for which our century will be remembered," he said, defining Allen as "a unique cross between Ingmar Bergman and Groucho Marx."

Benigni hinted that the film, shot last year and distributed by flamboyant former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset company, reflected some of the atmosphere of scandal of the billionaire's last months in power.

"The film is set in the Italy of that time. We had our prime minister, we had the escorts, we had parties... Now we have penniless pensioners, rain and (Prime Minister Mario) Monti. The situation has really changed!"

In the film, Baldwin is a famous architect who bumps into a young man played by Jesse Eisenberg of "Social Network" fame and re-lives his youth.

Penelope Cruz plays a prostitute who spends the day with a young man with puritanical parents who is separated from his wife-to-be for a day.

At the press conference, Baldwin joked that he had mistakenly read the script and understood that he would be a character who gets to make love to Cruz in his hotel room. "I immediately said yes," he said.

Cruz said Allen had given her "a jewel of a character" and said the director was "peculiar" and "mesmerising". "I always drive him crazy with a thousand questions. There is absolutely no bullshit in his personality."

Fans of Allen's films have seen signs of a creative revival for the master after his 1970s classics such as "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan" with "Match Point" in 2006 -- a dark thriller that marked an unusual departure from comedy.

Last year's "Midnight in Paris" -- a homage to the Golden Age of the French capital -- also won acclaim and box office success, as well as bagging the cult director his fourth Academy Award for best original screenplay.

Born Allen Konigsberg on December 1, 1935, to a family of second generation Jewish immigrants in New York, Allen said he spent much of his Brooklyn childhood alone in his room, practising magic tricks or playing the clarinet.

He was reportedly hired while only a teenager to write one-liners for well-known comedians of the day. He studied film at New York University but was kicked out for failing a course before going on to work as a stand-up comedian.

He wrote for television in the late 1950s and early 1960s before making his film debut in 1966 with "What's Up, Tiger Lily?". He has written and directed more than 40 films in a career spanning nearly half a century.

His homage to Rome also marks a return to the spotlight for the Italian capital, whose mix of ancient Roman ruins and Baroque facades provided the setting to film classics "Roman Holiday" (1953) and "La Dolce Vita" (1960).

Wearing a fisherman's hat and his trademark thick-framed glasses, Allen was seen filming last summer, including at the Spanish Steps -- the backdrop to a famous scene of "Roman Holiday" with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.

Among other shooting locations were the Colosseum, Via del Corso and Via Veneto -- the hub of Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" which famously coined the word "paparazzo" to describe celebrity-hunting photographers.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • U.N. chief appeals to Indonesia not to carry out executions
    U.N. chief appeals to Indonesia not to carry out executions

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to Indonesia on Saturday not to execute 10 prisoners, including two Australians, for drug-related crimes. Indonesia has so far informed seven of the 10 death row inmates, including the Australians and one Nigerian, that they will be executed in a matter of days, possibly as soon as Tuesday. Nationals from Brazil, Ghana and the Philippines are also on Indonesia's death row. A temporary reprieve was granted to a French citizen who will not …

  • Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions
    Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions

    Indonesia on Sunday signalled it was determined to push ahead with the execution of eight foreign drug convicts, despite a growing wave of global condemnation led by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. Authorities on Saturday gave formal notice to the eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- that they would be executed by firing squad imminently, along with an Indonesian prisoner. The group have been moved to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan, where …

  • AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys
    AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is adopting a wait and see approach amid reports that China will soon deploy seaplanes to further strengthen its maritime claims in the disputed Spratlys. Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, spokesman for the military and commander of the AFP Civil Relations Service, said they have yet to ascertain the real purpose behind China’s continuing aggressive moves in the region. “We will wait and see before coming up with an official stand,” Kakilala said when …

  • US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations
    US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington’s next phase in its Asia “pivot,” deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia “pivot” has already seen US Marines rotating through the …

  • Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions
    Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions

    Short of condemning China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea, a senior US military official said Washington does not support any act of coercion and bullying. “We don’t stand for coercion, bullying and aggressiveness,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher Mahoney, assistant US military director for  Phl-US Joint Balikatan Exercises 2015. At the sidelines of this year’s joint military exercises’ static aircraft display held at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Mahoney told a media briefing that …

  • ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’
    ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’

    The proposed grant to the chief minister of the envisioned Bangsamoro region of operational control over police forces in the area is consistent with the Constitution, a senior administration lawmaker said yesterday. It is clear in the proposed BBL that the Bangsamoro police will be part of the Philippine National Police (PNP), while the Bangsamoro Regional Police Board (BRPB) will be part of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) and will carry out Napolcom’s mandate in the region,” he …

  • Noy off to KL for Asean meet
    Noy off to KL for Asean meet

    President Aquino will arrive here this afternoon with Manila hopeful of support from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to achieve peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as well as economic prosperity and inclusive growth among the people in the region. Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Jose Eduardo Malaya III said that with respect to the dramatic developments in the South China Sea, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman had called for the early …

  • Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food
    Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food

    After months of preparation and hard work from both the government and private sectors, the future of food is finally here in the country’s capital. Madrid Fusión Manila opened its doors on Friday to an international delegation who eagerly awaited the discussions of some of the most renowned and revered names in the culinary world. Madrid Fusión Manila is a historic gastronomic event marked by talks and exhibitions that showcases Spain and the Philippines’ shared cultural heritage, as well as …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options