What’s in a name? Quite a lot in the world of international cinema it seems. Woody Allen’s latest film has just been renamed for the second time. Initially it had the hip but obscure title Bop Decameron. Then it briefly enjoyed the title Nero Fiddled. Now producers have settled on the self-explanatory To Rome With Love.
The problem seems to have arisen because Allen has become successful once more. After being allowed to do what he wanted to for a couple of decades without making much impact at the the box-office, Allen had a global smash hit with Midnight In Paris, which made close to $150 million worldwide.
Suddenly the marketing departments and focus groups are taking an interest. While Bop Decameron might have appealed to the arty bohemians that Allen cherishes, Nero Fiddled was simply too obscure a reference for those American audiences whose knowledge of history stops at Pearl Harbour. Sony Pictures claimed that "many international territories preferred a more globally understood name," but we know they were thinking of the schmucks in the New Jersey multiplexes.
The new title encapsulates Allen’s new niche as the director of insipid romcoms set in exotic locations, usually signalled by montages of familiar tourist sites. Expect To Rome With Love to feature plenty of establishing shots of the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps.
Allen has assembled an impressive cast for his collection of interweaving love stories, including Jesse Eisenberg, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz and Judy Davis. He even steps in front of the camera himself, for the first time since Scoop in 2006.