Saturday, September 15, 2012

To Rome with Love

To Rome with Love / Förälskad i Rom.
    US/IT/ES © 2012 Gravier Productions. PC also: Medusa Film, Perdido Productions. EX: Jack Rollins. P: Faruk Alatan, Letty Aronson, Giampaolo Letta, Stephen Tenenbaum.
    D+SC: Woody Allen. DP: Darius Khondji - Camera Arricam LT, Cooke 5/i and Speed Panchro Lenses, Arricam ST, Cooke 5/i and Speed Panchro Lenses - Laboratory: DeLuxe Italia, Roma, Italy - DeLuxe, New York (NY) USA - Film negative format: 35 mm (Kodak Vision3 500T 5219) - Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format), Super 35 (source format)- Printed film format: 35 mm (spherical) (Kodak Vision 2383), D-Cinema - Aspect ratio: 1.85:1. PD: Anne Seibel. AD: Luca Tranchino. Set dec: Raffaella Giovannetti. Cost: Sonia Grande. Makeup: Alessandro Bertolazzi. Hair: Massimo Gattabrusi. SFX: Leonardo Cruciano Workshop - Daniel Acon, Stefano Corridori. VFX: Fabio Bianchi. S: Maurizio Argentieri. Casting: Patricia Kerrigan DiCerto, Beatrice Kruger, Juliet Taylor.
    C: Alison Pill (Hayley, Michelangelo's girlfriend), Flavio Parenti (Michelangelo, Hayley's boyfriend), Woody Allen (Jerry, Phyllis' husband and Hayley's father), Judy Davis (Phyllis, Jerry's wife and Hayley's mother), Fabio Armiliato (Giancarlo, Michelangelo's father who sings opera arias in the shower), Alessandro Tiberi (Antonio from Pordenone, Milly's husband), Alessandra Mastronardi (Milly from Pordenone, Antonio's wife), Ornella Muti (Pia Fusari, an actress), Antonio Albanese (Luca Salta), Penélope Cruz (Anna, a prostitute), Riccardo Scamarcio (hotel thief), Roberto Benigni (Leopoldo, a clerk and temporary celebrity), Cecilia Capriotti (Serafina, a secretary), Marta Zoffoli (Marisa Raguso, an interviewer for Leopoldo), Alec Baldwin (John, Jack's acquaintance and adviser, the narrator), Jesse Eisenberg (Jack, Sally's boyfriend), Greta Gerwig (Sally, Monica's best friend and Jack's girlfriend), Ellen Page (Monica, Sally's best friend), Lino Guanciale (Leonardo), Giuliano Gemma.
    In Italian and English.
    112 min.
    Released by Scanbox Entertainment Finland with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Jaana Wiik / Nina Ekholm.
    Viewed at Kinopalatsi 7, Helsinki, 15 September 2012.

The four stories do not intertwine. - John (Alec Baldwin) the famous architect meets the young architect student Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) who is about to have a triangle affair with his girlfriend Sally (Greta Gerwig) and the Hollywood actress Monica (Ellen Page). - Hayley (Alison Pill) is getting married with Michelangelo (Flavio Parenti) whose father Giancarlo (Fabio Armiliato) loves to sing opera arias in the shower. Hayley's father (Woody Allen) is an impresario of outlandish opera productions, and although his wife (Judy Davis) tries to stop it they produce a shower-case production of I pagliacci. - Antonio (Alessandro Tiberi) and Milly (Alessandra Mastronardi) come from Pordenone to Rome where positions are opening in the family business. They get lost, and Milly gets in the company of a film star (Antonio Albanese) while Antonio, due to a misunderstanding, is accompanied by Anna, a prostitute (Penélope Cruz). - Leonardo (Roberto Benigni) is an ordinary guy who becomes famous because of nothing, and soon every gorgeous woman wants to sleep with him, even in threesomes.

Woody Allen is not afraid of clichés in this lightweight comedy which follows the popular model of Italian episode movies of the 1960s. The music selections include the most obvious 1950s Italian pop hits and the best-known opera arias. Visually, the movie is a travelogue of the usual spots of Rome. Famous Italian movie concepts are recycled. Like in Federico Fellini's The White Sheik there is a "country girl" excited to get into the company of a big movie star. Like in Michelangelo Antonioni's L'avventura there is a frustrated architect who is being paid big money for uninspired work (shopping malls in his case).

There are themes with gravity. The agony of creative people who have not made their mark. The topic of lesbianism / bisexuality returns in Monica's account of her affair with the lingerie model Victoria. The theme of Rome itself: the ruins of a formerly magnificent civilization. The extramarital affairs of Antonio and Milly are good education for both, and they love each other more as a consequence. The episode with Roberto Benigni has been criticized, but it is Woody Allen's topical satire on the Berlusconian aspect of Italy with its empty celebrities and bimbo models. Another aspect is the revelation at Antonio's introduction to Rome's business elite that for Anna, "my whole clientele is here". Like in Paris at Midnight there is a meeting with the clichés of a rich cultural heritage, and yet also, like in that movie, there is a young generation discovering their souls in an atmosphere of culture, while the older, more commercial and cynical generation warns them against idealism. Like Chaplin and Hitchcock Woody Allen recognizes the value of clichés but they all move beyond them.

The satirical account of the name-dropping Hollywood actress Monica is witty. She knows "one line from every poem". She is superficial, and "the charming con artist" covers interesting ground with her wide collection of buzzwords, not without blatant contradictions. The Fountainhead: Monica would definitely want to get laid by Howard Roark. Miss Julie: "she is me".

Fabio Armiliato the actual great opera star (La Scala, the Metropolitan...) is very funny as the "singer in the shower". 

This is Woody Allen's first appearance in a movie since 2006 and Roberto Benigni's first appearance in a movie since 2005.

A film they go to watch: La solitudine dei numeri primi (The Solitude of Prime Numbers, 2010).

The Pordenone reference regarding Antonio and Milly is all wrong. I have visited Pordenone almost every year since 1988 and discovered that Pordenone is located in one of the most distinguished regions in the world. People from Pordenone are not less sophisticated than people from Rome.

The Finnish and Swedish translations are very good and provide extra fun, but the spoken dialogue is so fast and full of references and innuendo that it's impossible to cover everything in subtitles, and anyway the movie deserves to be seen twice to get all the jokes.

Shot on 35 mm, the colour palette of the movie has been turned on the sweet side in the digital intermediate.

PS. 17 September 2012. Today I laughed out loud at the idea of Howard Roark having his way with Miss Julie. 18 September: I'm still laughing.
"Nel blu dipinto di blu (Volare)"
Composed by Domenico Modugno & Franco Migliacci
Performed by Domenico Modugno & His San Remo Orchestra

"Amada Mia, Amore Mio"
Composed by Bruno Pallesi, Celso Valli & Paolo Zavallone & Franco Migliacci
Performed by The Starlite Orchestra

"Arrivederci Roma"
Composed by Pietro Garinei, Sandro Giovanni & Renato Rascel
Performed by Alfredo Messina

"Arrivederci Roma"
Composed by Pietro Garinei, Sandro Giovanni & Renato Rascel
Performed by Steven Bernstein's Neapolitan Orchestra

Composed by A. Pestalozza
Performed by Angelo DiPippo, David Finck & Jay Berliner

"E lucevan le stelle"
from "Tosca"
Composed by Giacomo Puccini
Performed by Fabio Armiliato

"Nessun dorma"
from "Turandot"
Composed by Giacomo Puccini
Performed by Fabio Armiliato & Sergio La Stella

"Mio Dolce Sogno"
Composed by Giovanni Vicari
Performed by Butch Baldassari & Jeff Taylor

"Non dimenticar le mie parole"
Composed by Giovanni D'Anzi & Alfredo Bracchi
Performed by Emilio Livi & Trio Lescano

"Libiamo ne'lieti calici"
Composed by Giuseppe Verdi
Performed by Angelo DiPippo, David Finck & Jay Berliner

"Amor ti vieta"
from "Fedora"
Composed by Umberto Giordano
Performed by Fabio Armiliato & Sergio La Stella

"Studio 99"
Composed by Adam Hamilton

"Three Times Bossa"
Composed by Alex Trebo & Andrea Benini
Performed by Mop Mop

"When Your Lover Has Gone"
Composed by Aaron Einar Swan
Performed by Eddie Condon & His Orchestra

"Son qua, son qua"
from "Pagliacci"
Composed by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performed by Fabio Armiliato, Chorus & Orchestra

"Vesti la giubba"
from "Pagliacci"
Composed by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performed by Fabio Armiliato & Orchestra

"Duetto e Finale"
from "Pagliacci"
Written by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performed by Fabio Armiliato & Rita Cammarano, Matteo Bonetti, Antonio Taschini, Vinicio Cecere, Chorus & Orchestra

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