Thursday, 4 October 2012

Rome versus Paris

Woody Allen’s latest movie To Rome with Love has been in town for a few weeks now and we went to see it. Not so much thanks to Mr Allen himself, although I have enjoyed quite a number of his films over the years, but more thanks to the setting of the film. 

We seldom go to the cinema these day. Firstly, because of the 45-minute drive to Helsinki but, more importantly, because a few years ago my husband invested in a state-of-the-art home cinema system with excellent loudspeakers and a large screen and everything. However, this time we couldn’t help it. We both love Rome and can’t wait to make the next trip there. I do love London, Barcelona, Paris and a number of other cities, too, but for me Rome is probably the dearest of them all.

I very much enjoyed Woody’s previous movie Midnight in Paris and therefore entered the cinema with quite high hopes. (Hes not that keen on romance nor fantasy nor Paris and hasn’t seen it yet.) To Rome with Love is a crazy Woody Allen alright but we found it rather simple and routinely made, showing little traces of the wit seen in the wonderful Paris movie described by some to represent the genre of ‘luxury amusement’. It didn’t deliver the same kind of charm, grace, lightness and joy as the previous one. I felt totally happy when leaving the cinema after Paris but confused and disappointed when leaving it after Rome.

The Paris movie changed my view of Owen Wilson as an actor. In that role I liked him a lot. Maybe this was one of the reasons adding to the charm of the Paris film that the actors were given more space as Mr Allen wasn’t acting himself at all. In the Rome movie he is again very much present on screen. I’m hoping he would concentrate on screenwriting and directing and finally leave the acting to others and we might be given another Paris one of these years. 

As for the message of the Rome film, most of the reviews I read on the Internet didn’t tell a word about any message. However, to me there was one but it was the complete opposite from how it was seen by a few (American) reviewers who had found one.

Moreover, Woody’s old-fashioned choices in film music have often been ear-hugging to me but now he starts the movie with ‘Volare’. Come on! It might be a bit different for an American but at least for a European this is such a worn-out song, a sad cliché from past times, it will flatten the thrill from the very first seconds. And the closing tune (can’t remember what it was though) will surely kill any spell you might be under. I mentioned about the music to my husband and his feelings were exactly equal.

Nevertheless, despite the slight disappointment our feelings for Rome and Italy are unchanged. In real life, Rome could never disappoint you. We haven’t been there for a year now and are missing it. 

Last autumn, I hadn’t started blogging yet so I’m posting a few photos of some of the places where the movie was shot: Piazza della Pace (with the popular Cafè della Pace and the charming restaurant across the street both of which, as we were told, had had Mr Allen’s crew filming at their place), Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere (the whole Trastevere area is an absolute favourite of ours) and Piazza Navona (not among our favourites because of the ever-lasting crowds). 

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