Though my husband cannot understand my ardor for his talky style, I passionately adore the work of Woody Allen––the oldies, the mysteries, the musicals and even the box office flops. What I appreciate most is his ability to weave an authentic sense of place that wraps around and even defines the characters in his stories.
In Rome, about to film Bop Decameron, the maestro has been scouting locations and calculating the city’s scenographic potential. Yesterday at the Campidoglio, after Mayor Alemanno presented him with the prestigious gift of La Lupa from the City of Rome, Woody Allen said this about his new city set: “Rome is a very romantic and beautful city, like Barcelona, Paris, London and New York –– but much more so. I can’t wait to get started here.”
More romantic than Paris ? More beautiful than New York (to a New Yorker) ?
It’s hard to disagree. His film will present the most romantic side of the city, the side that allures and lingers. The quality of the romanticism here is earthy to Paris’s subtle; visceral to New York’s cerebral; black and white to Barcelona’s color; and loose to London’s formal. Its visual beauty needs no elaboration, and perhaps neither does the above-average gorgeousness of its inhabitants.
Living with any one or in any one place for long challenges the half-hearted romantic, who might allow mundane realities to interfere with the glow of idealization. For the true-hearted romantic, however, familiarity and ordinariness provide a chance to discover deeper aspects of beauty and wonder. Romanticizing a place through the eyes of artists like Woody Allen makes doing this just a little bit easier. Viva Romanticism!
I’m curious, what is the most romantic city to you?