On the Absurdity of Celebrity: To Rome With Love

It’s been a little over a week since my last post as I’m still settling into Ottawa. As a result, I’ve accumulated some things to write about. I’ll try to get through them all in the next couple of days as I’m really excited to get back to writing posts that are appropriate for Research Blogging.

As you can see from the title of today’s post, I happened to watch To Rome With Love (thank you Netflix!) I had seen Midnight in Paris some time last year and folks recommended that I might enjoy Woody Allen’s next film (actually, it was his next next film, but who’s keeping track?) To Me, Rome seemed to be a lot different from Paris, but I won’t really talk about any of the differences in case you haven’t seen either and might want to. However, I do want to talk about one of the subplots of Rome — celebrity.

Leopoldo Pisanello, played by Roberto Benigni, is a clerk who lives an otherwise mundane life. However, one day, he wakes up to find himself a celebrity. Reporters and paparazzi swarm him at his front door asking questions and snapping pictures. He ends up on TV and the host asks him about what he ate for breakfast, whether he wears boxers or briefs, and if he thinks it’ll rain. He gets a promotion at the company he works at and the boss’s secretary sleeps with him. He goes to fancy movie premieres, but the attention wears on him. You start to see the character become fatigued from answering so many mundane questions about himself.

Towards the end of this subplot, the character has a bit of an outburst. During this outburst, the press spot another man who looks “more interesting,” so everyone floods over to that man as paparazzi snap pictures and reporters ask questions.

I’ve never been a celebrity, so I can’t speak personally to the experience, but I think that Woody Allen does a great job at poking fun at how we, as a society, have created this absurd culture of celebrity.

 

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