I should preface this post by telling you that I have a deep admiration for Woody Allen. His comedy, in my opinion, is so accidentally ingenious. The stutters in his performance, the dry jokes that only turn out to be hilarious with a 5 second time delay, his face. Just a neurotic man trying to make us laugh at a New York aesthetic he has, by now, coined to the point of a cliche’.
In his latest film, To Rome With Love, he romanticizes his fourth European city. Paris, Barcelona, London, and now, Roma. I mean, when you hear ‘Volare’ being played over his aerial shots of the eternal city, volando like a Vespa through Piazza Venezia – an old stomping ground for me; we used to cross that piazza every single day to get from our hotel, Casa Kolbe, to the rest of Rome; every time we’d turn the corner my heart would skip a beat.
Of course, most Romans despise their city. Too many tourists, too much traffic, too dirty. All true things. But, even spending one day in Rome is enough to leave an impression, torn between hate and love. I’ve never met someone who was indifferent to Rome.
This of course is not a film review, I’ll spare you, although many a term papers will proffer Roberto Benigni’s ‘famous for being famous’ parody as a self-reflexive commentary on the cult of celebrity today – and I thought it was a jaunty little bit of fluff that was so necessary. Benigni is the Italian Woody Allen. Like Rome, both hated and loved.
There is just so much going on in this movie, you can’t be bored. It was like Game of Thrones: pick which narrative line you like best and wait around for it. Or similarly, Days of Our Lives – only soap operas make you really wait. How long did it take Marlena to wake up from that goddamn coma!
Two of my favourite moments I’ll share here. First, when Woody Allen and his wife are flying to Rome to meet their daughter and her new fiance’, he laments his future son-in-law’s leftist sentiments and wishes his daughter instead found a wealthy, blue-blood Roman who owned yachts and designer clothes. He says to his wife, “I mean, don’t you want our daughter to marry into Eurotrash?” And my life was MADE. Right there. Woody Allen gets it. I literally cheered – hands up and everything!
The second moment I also loved was Alison Pill wearing Ashley Rowe in Rome. You know, I wear a lot of Ashley Rowe. I love her minimalist design and hyperbolic silhouette. Pill wears a navy blue Ashley Rowe t-shirt with the token coattails. I’m 99% sure it’s a Rowe original – unless someone out there is copying her designs. If you can confirm this, I’d be very glad to know. Pill is from Toronto, BTW, so not a far stretch.
And, that’s all she wrote.