“Woody Wednesday” Woody Allen on Italian Movies and ‘To Rome With Love’

Woody Allen interview 1971 PART 2/4

Woody Allen interview 1971 PART 1/4

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopelessmeaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of his own secular view. I salute him for doing that. That is why I have returned to his work over and over and presented my own Christian worldview as an alternative.

My interest in Woody Allen is so great that I have a “Woody Wednesday” on my blog www.thedailyhatch.org every week. Also I have done over 30 posts on the historical characters mentioned in his film “Midnight in Paris.” (Salvador DaliErnest Hemingway,T.S.Elliot,  Cole Porter,Paul Gauguin,  Luis Bunuel, and Pablo Picasso were just a few of the characters.)

Italian films that influenced Woody Allen:

That’s Amore: Italy as Muse

Woody Allen on Italian Movies and ‘To Rome With Love’

Philippe Antonello/Gravier Productions — Sony Pictures Classics

Woody Allen, center, in his new film, “To Rome With Love,”

Interview by
Published: June 15, 2012
 “I WANTED nothing more than to be a foreign filmmaker,” Woody Allen said recently, “but of course I was from Brooklyn, which was not a foreign country. Through a happy accident I wound up being a foreign filmmaker because I couldn’t raise money any other way.”
Kino Video

Lamberto Maggiorani and Enzo Staiola in “The Bicycle Thief,” directed by Vittorio De Sica (1948).

Entertainment One

“Shoeshine,” directed by Vittorio De Sica (1946).

MGM, via Photofest

David Hemmings, top, and Veruschka von Lehndorff in “Blow-Up” (1966).

Janus Films

“Amarcord,” from Federico Fellini (1973).

Continuing a cinematic tour of Europe on which Mr. Allen has spent the better part of a decade making movies in Britain (“Match Point,” “Scoop,” “Cassandra’s Dream” and “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”), Spain (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”) and France (“Midnight in Paris,” which won him the Academy Award for original screenplay), this wandering writer-director landed in Italy for his new film, “To Rome With Love.”

That film, which Sony Pictures Classics will release on June 22, is an ensemble comedy featuring Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Roberto Benigni and Mr. Allen himself among the Americans and Italians who get mixed up in a series of intertwining adventures and romances.

After toying with titles like “The Bop Decameron” and “Nero Fiddled,” Mr. Allen changed the film’s name to one that reflected not only his affection for Italy but also for that country’s proud tradition of cinema and maverick filmmakers who inspired him to make personal movies of his own.

As a teenager in New York, Mr. Allen, now 76, said in an interview by phone, “my group was hardly an intellectual group — it was a group of mugs.” But he added: “Italian movies were a great staple of our cultural diet. They were a tremendous influence in terms of showing us that one could make movies about mature subjects with profound themes.”

Mr. Allen spoke to Dave Itzkoff about four movies by Italian filmmakers that influenced him most profoundly. “They invented a method of telling a story and suddenly for us lesser mortals it becomes all right to tell a story that way,” Mr. Allen said. “We do our versions of them, never as shockingly innovative or brilliant as when the masters did them.”

‘THE BICYCLE THIEF,’ directed by Vittorio De Sica (1948). This, to me, was the supreme Italian film and one of the greatest films in the world. It was out when I was a teenager, in the same era as “Stromboli” and “Bitter Rice,” that wave at the time. When you see it, it seems so simple and effortless. I mean, what could be more simple? A guy has a bicycle which he needs for his livelihood, it gets stolen, and he goes to find it with his son. The boy’s relationship with his father was part anger, part desperate affection. It couldn’t help but make an impression on the most primitive level. You didn’t have to think about anything, you just watched the characters and their predicament. It’s flawless; every part of it works perfectly.

‘SHOESHINE,’ Vittorio De Sica (1946). I saw this when I was more grown-up, in my 30s, and it was like a masterpiece that had slipped through the cracks for me. It must be a little-seen film because I never run into anybody who’s seen it. It starts off as a story of two kids just as friendly as can be, who buy a horse together, and the domino effect is terrible, the way things keep tumbling worse and worse for them. I do think that certain people do experience an anxiety over being wrongly accused or incarcerated and unable to make contact with the outside world, and things getting worse and worse — being separated from civilization and legal proceedings. But the poetry of the piece for me was the relationship of those two boys. It went from such simple, mutual excitement, affection, to where they are finally and violently opposed.

‘BLOW-UP,’ Michelangelo Antonioni (1966). It’s certainly not the best Antonioni film and not on par with the other three films I named, but a very charming experience. It’s so beautifully photographed by Carlo Di Palma, and the story was so interesting, even though it unravels in certain ways. Here’s a life that’s fully vital, full of music and beautiful women and open sex and swinging London at its height. But if you take a moment in that life and stop for a second, and blow it up and blow it up, what you see is death. And you are really present with David Hemmings when he discovers that. You’re in that studio with him when he does those pictures and puts them up on the wall and notices something. If you stop all the noise and color and glamour, and look very, very closely, you have to understand that death is ever-present. That was a very important idea for me.

‘AMARCORD,’ Federico Fellini (1973). I loved “The White Sheik” and “I Vitelloni” and “La Strada,” and of course “8 ½.” But “Amarcord” is one, for me, that I could see every year. He so clearly recreates his childhood in Rimini, and you’re there in that world, with his mother and his father, with his relatives, with local people, with the local stores, the local rituals of marching around the town square and things that everybody’s done: looking at strangers and seeing that they look like movie stars, and hanging out at the cinema, and ogling particular women who are the heartthrobs of the neighborhood. You are in a world that he recreated, and he recreated it not in a literal, photographic way — he did it in an exaggerated, cartoonlike way — and still, you’re there. You understand all those memories and experiences.

A version of this article appeared in print

Related posts:

I love the movie “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen and I have done over 30 posts on the historical characters mentioned in the film. Take a look below:

All my posts on Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” (Part 40)July 19, 2011 – 8:51 am

“Midnight in Paris” one of Woody Allen’s biggest movie hits in recent yearsJuly 18, 2011 – 6:00 am

Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” explores “golden age fallacy” (Part 39) July 17, 2011 – 5:59 am
(Part 38,Alcoholism and great writers and artists) July 16, 2011 – 5:47 am

Woody Allen’s search for God in the movie “Midnight in Paris”(Part 37) July 15, 2011 – 5:44 am

(Part 36, Alice B. Toklas, Woody Allen on the meaning of life) July 14, 2011 – 5:16 am

  (Part 35, Recap of historical figures, Notre Dame Cathedral and Cult of Reason)July 13, 2011 – 5:42 am

(Part 34, Simone de Beauvoir) July 12, 2011 – 6:03 am
(Part 33,Cezanne) July 11, 2011 – 6:15 am

(Part 32, Jean-Paul Sartre)July 10, 2011 – 5:53 am

(Part 31, Jean Cocteau) July 9, 2011 – 6:15 am
(Part 30, Albert Camus) July 8, 2011 – 5:48 am

 (Part 29, Pablo Picasso) July 7, 2011 – 4:33 am

(Part 28,Van Gogh) July 6, 2011 – 4:03 am

(Part 27, Man Ray) July 5, 2011 – 4:49 am

(Part 26,James Joyce) July 4, 2011 – 5:55 am

(Part 25, T.S.Elliot) July 3, 2011 – 4:46 am

(Part 24, Djuna Barnes) July 2, 2011 – 7:28 am

(Part 23,Adriana, fictional mistress of Picasso) July 1, 2011 – 12:28 am

(Part 22, Silvia Beach and the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore) June 30, 2011 – 12:58 am

(Part 21,Versailles and the French Revolution) June 29, 2011 – 5:34 am

(Part 20, King Louis XVI of France) June 28, 2011 – 5:44 am

(Part 19,Marie Antoinette) June 27, 2011 – 12:16 am

(Part 18, Claude Monet) June 26, 2011 – 5:41 am

(Part 17, J. M. W. Turner) June 25, 2011 – 5:44 am

(Part 16, Josephine Baker) June 24, 2011 – 5:18 am

(Part 15, Luis Bunuel) June 23, 2011 – 5:37 am

(Part 12, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel) June 20, 2011 – 5:58 am

(Part 11, Rodin)  June 19, 2011 – 9:50 am

(Part 10 Salvador Dali) June 18, 2011 – 2:57 pm

(Part 9, Georges Braque) June 18, 2011 – 2:55 pm

(Part 8, Henri Toulouse Lautrec) June 18, 2011 – 2:45 pm

(Part 7 Paul Gauguin) June 18, 2011 – 11:20 am

(Part 6 Gertrude Stein) June 16, 2011 – 11:01 am

(Part 5 Juan Belmonte) June 16, 2011 – 10:59 am

(Part 4 Ernest Heminingway) June 16, 2011 – 9:08 am

(Part 3 Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald) June 16, 2011 – 3:46 am

(Part 2 Cole Porter) June 15, 2011 – 7:40 am

(Part 1 William Faulkner) June 13, 2011 – 3:19 pm

I love Woody Allen’s latest movie “Midnight in Paris”June 12, 2011 – 11:52 pm

“Woody Wednesday” A 2010 review of Woody Allen’s Annie Hall

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]

“Woody Wednesday” In 2009 interview Woody Allen talks about the lack of meaning of life and the allure of younger women

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]

Woody Allen video interview in France talk about making movies in Paris vs NY and other subjects like God, etc

Woody Allen video interview in France Related posts: “Woody Wednesdays” Woody Allen on God and Death June 6, 2012 – 6:00 am Good website on Woody Allen How can I believe in God when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter? If Jesus Christ came back today and […]

“Woody Wednesday” Woody Allen on the Emptiness of Life by Toby Simmons

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]

Woody Allen interviews Billy Graham (Woody Wednesday)

A surprisingly civil discussion between evangelical Billy Graham and agnostic comedian Woody Allen. Skip to 2:00 in the video to hear Graham discuss premarital sex, to 4:30 to hear him respond to Allen’s question about the worst sin and to 7:55 for the comparison between accepting Christ and taking LSD. ___________________ The Christian Post > […]

“Woody Allen Wednesdays” can be seen on the www.thedailyhatch.org

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 If you like Woody Allen films as much as I do then join me every Wednesday for another look the man and his movies. Below are some of the posts from the past: “Woody Wednesday” How Allen’s film “Crimes and Misdemeanors makes the point that hell is necessary […]

“Woody Wednesday” Great Documentary on Woody Allen

I really enjoyed this documentary on Woody Allen from PBS. Woody Allen: A Documentary, Part 1 Published on Mar 26, 2012 by NewVideoDigital Beginning with Allen’s childhood and his first professional gigs as a teen – furnishing jokes for comics and publicists – WOODY ALLEN: A DOCUMENTARY chronicles the trajectory and longevity of Allen’s career: […]

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 6)

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 3 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 3 of 3: ‘Is Woody Allen A Romantic Or A Realist?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, Crimes and Misdemeanors, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca ______________ One of my favorite Woody Allen movies and I reviewed […]

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 5)

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 2 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 2 of 3: ‘What Does The Movie Tell Us About Ourselves?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca _________________- One of my favorite Woody Allen movies and I reviewed it earlier but […]

In 2009 interview Woody Allen talks about the lack of meaning of life and the allure of younger women

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]

“Woody Allen Wednesdays” can be seen on the www.thedailyhatch.org

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 If you like Woody Allen films as much as I do then join me every Wednesday for another look the man and his movies. Below are some of the posts from the past: “Woody Wednesday” How Allen’s film “Crimes and Misdemeanors makes the point that hell is necessary […]

Woody Allen on the Emptiness of Life by Toby Simmons

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 4)

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 1 of 3: ‘What Does Judah Believe?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca _____________ One of my favorite films is this gem by Woody Allen “Crimes and Misdemeanors”: Film Review By […]

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 3)

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 3 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 3 of 3: ‘Is Woody Allen A Romantic Or A Realist?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, Crimes and Misdemeanors, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca ______________ One of my favorite Woody Allen movies and I reviewed […]

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 2)

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 2 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 2 of 3: ‘What Does The Movie Tell Us About Ourselves?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca _________________- One of my favorite Woody Allen movies and I reviewed it earlier but […]

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 1)

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 1 of 3: ‘What Does Judah Believe?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca _____________ Today I am starting a discusssion of the movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” by Woody Allen. This 1989 […]

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