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Woody Allen goes to Rome for 'Bop Decameron' while 'Paris' still sizzles

That pioneer of bawdy literature, Giovanni Boccaccio, inspired Shakespeare's "All's Well that Ends Well" with one tale from the hundred stories in his erotic tapestry of 14th-century Italian life, "The Decameron."

Will all end as well for Woody Allen? The auteur Bill Murray so memorably dubbed the Wood-man has announced his "Bop Decameron" with a cast led by Allen himself, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, Ornella Muti, Alison Pill and Ellen Page.

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Allen will make it in Rome starting in July. In more ways than one, he's following in the footsteps of Federico Fellini, Vittorio De Sica, and Luchino Visconti, who contributed sections to the 1962 anthology film, "Boccaccio '70."

Let's hope travel continues to be rejuvenating for Allen.

One reason his smash romantic comic fantasy, "Midnight in Paris," is so appealing is that it echoes Allen's youthful prose larks -- not just "A Twenties Memory" but also "If the Impressionists Had Been Dentists."

This "fantasy exploring the transposition of temperament" takes the shape of a series of letters from dentist Vincent (van Gogh) to his brother Theo -- letters like, "Dear Theo, Toulouse-Lautrec is the saddest man in the world. He longs more than anything to be a great dentist, and he has real talent, but he's too short to reach his patients' mouths and too proud to stand on anything."(The letters end with, "Sometimes I wish I had listened to father and become a painter. It's not exciting but the life is regular.")

I was delighted, not surprised, when the artists who created the poster for "Midnight in Paris" based it on van Gogh's "The Starry Night." 

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