Only a few hours after the L.A. Kings finished their celebratory Stanley Cup Parade to Staples Center, the Los Angeles Film Festival rolled out the red carpet at the LA LIVE Regal Cinemas for the opening night North American premiere of Woody Allen's "To Rome With Love."
Greeting director, writer, and star Allen and wife Soon-Yi Previn on the red carpet were Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) director Stephanie Allain and artistic director David Ansen. Also on hand were Sony Pictures Classics co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard.
Many of the movie's beautiful actresses also graced the red carpet, including Penelope Cruz, Greta Gerwig, Alison Pill, Simona Caparnini, and Alessandra Mastronardi. Longtime Allen producing partner Letty Aronson was also in attendance, as was LAFF Narrative Film juror/actress Rachael Harris, among others.
"To Rome With Love" is Allen's latest travel valentine celebrating a European metropolis. Allen's 2011 hit "Midnight in Paris" was a love poem to the French capital filtered through the eyes of a single protagonist, screenwriter Gil (Owen Wilson). However, "To Rome With Love" is an ensemble story depicting a multitude of characters and storylines.
There is a retired couple (Allen and Judy Davis) traveling to Rome to meet their daughter (Alison Pill) and her Italian fiancé (Flavio Parenti). Allen, a retired opera director, becomes infatuated with the vocal talents of his future son-in-law's father.
Next is acclaimed architect John (Alec Baldwin) reliving the year he spent in Rome as a young man. Walking through his former neighborhood, John meets a young man, Jack (Jesse Eisenberg), an architecture student. Jack reminds John of his youth, including the potential love triangle between Jack and his girlfriend (Greta Gerwig) and her best friend (Ellen Page).
There are multiple Italian storylines as well. The first deals with an everyday family man (Roberto Benigni) waking up one day to discover that he's wildly famous and hounded by reporters, fans, and gorgeous women. Another depicts a young married couple (Alessandro Tiberi and Alessandra Mastronardi) arriving in Rome to meet the man's stern relatives for a possible job. The couple becomes separated and confusion results in their romantic pairings, including that with Anna (Penelope Cruz).
"To Rome With Love" is bookended with an Italian traffic cop directly addressing the audience, explaining that these are just a few of the many stories of the travelers and citizens of Rome. This is a fitting sentiment to open the Los Angeles Film Festival; the LAFF is full of wondrous stories, nearly 200 film stories, in fact, during the 11-day event.
For a list of films, schedules, and ticket information, visit the LAFF website. "To Rome With Love" opens in Los Angeles and New York on June 22.
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