earlier this week, Woody Allen's »To Rome with Love«
had its world premiere yesterday at the Auditorium Parco Della Musica
in Rome. Before the evening gala premiere, Italian journalists were invited to a press screening of the film followed by a press conference and photo call held at the Parco dei Principi Hotel
. While Primissima's report
indicated that director Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg and Ellen Page would be in attendance for the events, only five of them eventually made the trip to the Eternal City. Ellen was conspicuous by her absence and reportedly unable to come due to "other commitments" (see last paragraph for details).
Although the feature, which has been shown in an Italian dubbed version, received some mixed reviews, everyone appeared to enjoy the carefully scripted day. The cast members showered Allen with praise during the press briefing, with Italy's favourite comedian Roberto Benigni and muse Penelope Cruz being the most enthusiastic. "His presence here in Rome is like a summer snow storm: absolutely amazing," the Oscar-winning actor raved. He also jokingly added, "Aside from Penelope Cruz and Ellen Page, I am sure Mr. Allen chose me because of my great beauty. I am without a doubt the most handsome man in the film, with apologies to Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Eisenberg, who are also quite handsome but obviously not as much as me." Cruz said Allen gave her "a jewel of a character" and called the director "peculiar" and "mesmerising". "He’s wonderful, unique, a genius, and he always leaves me wanting more, since unfortunately I was on the set for To Rome With Love and Vicky Cristina Barcelona only for three or three and a half weeks each. I could spend hours on the set just watching him work. I could go on and on," she explained in a mix of Italian and English. While Alec Baldwin joked that he had mistakenly read the script and understood that he would be a character who gets to make love to Cruz's high-class call girl in his hotel room, actor Jesse Eisenberg admitted "it's a huge honor to be able to work with Woody Allen. He is, to me, the greatest entertainer of all time".
Much of the critical comments were about what one local journalist called the director's "superficial" portrayal of Rome itself. Others complained that Allen presents a view of Rome and Italians that is both idealized and stereotyped. The filmmaker responded to this criticism by saying, "I give you my own interpretation of Rome in the film, and I don’t pretend to have any insights about the culture or the politics. We set out to make a film set in Rome that's entertaining to watch, and that’s what we did." The Italian news agency AGI
, in turn, wrote a rather positive review:
"The Rome described by Woody Allen (and cinematographer Darius Khondji) is truly enchanting. A tribute to the Eternal City, To Rome with Love consists of four intertwined stories. It's a light-hearted comedy that, despite the inevitable clichés, makes you smile, especially thanks to the performances of Allen himself and Roberto Benigni."
»To Rome with Love«
is scheduled to open in Italy next week with about 600 copies distributed nationwide. Moreover, organizers announced last Thursday that Woody Allen's romantic fantasy will serve as opening night film for the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival
starting June 14th. This will also be the film's North American premiere. Here's the shortened press release:
FILM INDEPENDENT ANNOUNCES
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
OF WOODY ALLEN’S TO ROME WITH LOVE FOR OPENING NIGHT AT
2012 LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL
- FESTIVAL TO RUN JUNE 14-24, HEADQUARTERED AT L.A. LIVE -
LOS ANGELES (April 12, 2012) – Today the Los Angeles Film Festival, in conjunction with Presenting Media Sponsor the Los Angeles Times and Host Partner L.A. LIVE, announced the North American Premiere of Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love as the opening night film for the 2012 Festival. The Festival is widely recognized as a world-class event, showcasing the best in new American and international cinema, and is produced by Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that also produces the Spirit Awards. The 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival will screen a diverse slate of over 200 feature films, shorts, and music videos, representing more than 30 countries, along with signature programs such as the Filmmaker Retreat, Ford Amphitheater Outdoor Screenings, Poolside Chats, Coffee Talks, Music Events and more.
Written and directed by Woody Allen, To Rome With Love is a story about a number of people in Italy — some American, some Italian, some residents, some visitors — and the romances and adventures and predicaments they get into. The film stars Allen, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page, and is produced by Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum. To Rome With Love is being released by Sony Pictures Classics on June 22, 2012.
"I can’t think of a better way to kick off this year’s festival than with the original independent filmmaker himself, Woody Allen. It’s a true honor for Los Angeles to host the North American premiere of To Rome With Love," said Festival Director Stephanie Allain.
"We are thrilled to bring Woody Allen and the US premiere of his new film To Rome With Love at the LA Film Fest," said SPC’s Co-President Tom Bernard. “The Festival is a premiere showcase for films and we couldn’t be more excited that Stephanie and her team have chosen us to open the Festival.”
"I've always wanted to make a film in Rome. It's obviously one of the great cities of the world, and when you make a film in a foreign city you get a chance to spend several months there, so shooting in Rome gave me and my family an opportunity to really enjoy a city I love in a way that I don't usually get to. I wrote the film especially for Rome because over the years and my many visits there little ideas occurred to me, and I was able to utilize those ideas to comic advantage, romantic advantage, combined with the visual beauty of Rome," said Woody Allen.
Returning to downtown Los Angeles, with its central hub at L.A. LIVE, the Festival will run from Thursday, June 14 to Sunday, June 24. Now in its eighteenth year, the Festival provides the movie-loving public with access to critically acclaimed filmmakers, film industry professionals, and emerging talent from around the world.
Passes are currently on sale to past Festival attendees and Film Independent members will be available to the general public on April 22. In addition to screenings and events, Festival passes provide access to a series of networking receptions and entry to the Filmmaker Lounge, where Festival pass holders can interact with Festival filmmakers and professionals in the film community. General admission tickets to individual films go on sale beginning May 29. Contact the Ticket Office for passes, tickets and event information by calling 866.FILM.FEST (866-345-6337) or visit LAFilmFest.com. The Official Film Guide, the comprehensive source for all movie info, screenings, locations, and related events is produced by the Los Angeles Times. It will top The Los Angeles Times on Sunday, June 10 in Los Angeles and Orange County and be made available throughout downtown during the ten-day event.
Also on Thursday both Deadline
and The Playlist
finally confirmed Ellen Page has signed up to star alongside Scoot McNairy, Rosemarie DeWitt, Josh Pais, Allison Janney and Ron Livingstone in the Lynn Shelton-directed »Touchy Feely«. While story details are still being kept under wraps, filming began yesterday at a Grocery Outlet in Seattle, Washington