Truman Capote once defined movie star interviews as the lowest form of journalism. He was no doubt right, but when the subject is Allan Stewart Konigsberg, aka Woody Allen, it's hard to resist. Fed up with producers controlling his scripts and casts in his own country, the creator of Annie Hall has made several films in Europe in recent years. After London, Paris and Barcelona/Oviedo, his latest stop is the Italian capital, where he directed and starred in To Rome With Love, which is released in Spain on September 21.
Question. Do you think people will go to see your new film because of you or because of Rome?
Answer. I don't know. Rome is a beautiful city. I was there for three months, and I was able to visit splendid places, meet lots of people and eat that delicious food.
Q. Is this the end of your European phase?
A. No, no, I hope to keep filming abroad. My next film will be in the US, but the one after will be elsewhere. I have been asked to film in South Africa, Moscow and China, in different places, and we are thinking it over.
Q. Some of you critics have said your European films are like tourist guidebooks.
A. I agree. I love cities and I love photographing them. If I have the opportunity to work in Rome, Barcelona or Paris, I try to show them - it's very important for me. So yes, I agree they are like tourist guidebooks.
Q. They also say they don't go much beyond the clichés...
In Rome I was able to visit splendid places and eat that delicious food"
A. That is also completely true. I don't have real knowledge of those cities. I don't know Barcelona like a Spaniard or London like an Englishman. In Europe I'm strictly a tourist, and so I have a tourist's perception.
Q. And would you say that is a good or bad thing?
A. I think a good thing. It's what I want to do and I think that's what the public wants to see. I like to give my tourist's perception. In fact, it's what I did years ago with Manhattan in New York, and everybody in the city said "that isn't New York, it's a romantic New York, not the real New York." I agree.
Q. How is it spending so much time outside of New York?
If Europe goes on like this, that will have a very bad effect on the US"
A. I love living in New York. When I work abroad I go back to edit the film, put it together, add the music and do the postproduction. Once in a while I go out on a tour with the jazz band. I don't mind being abroad if the hotels are good.
Q. How do you see the old Europe with its enormous and ongoing economic crisis?
A. I see that Europe is worse than the United States right now; we went through a very bad period, but Obama has been very effective, and I think he will be even more so in the next four years, after the elections. If Europe goes on like this, that will have a very bad effect on the United States and could make victory difficult for Obama. Greece is a big problem, and Spain is going through a very bad moment, but a different one. Spain is a great country and you feel it will get out of this. I'm less sure about Greece.
Q. You have said that listening to Wagner produces strange effects...
A. Germany has to respond to the crisis in a generous and cooperative way. They cannot demand more austerity because that is very hard on people and doesn't help to create employment. You have to do the opposite of that.
Q. Did you feel the impact of Berlusconi in Italy?
A. Well, he was a very flamboyant leader, bigger than any fictional character. People like those kind of characters, maybe because they are mysterious and they have an emotional component. Maybe he amuses them. They voted for him - it's not like he seized power, but then he became too crazy, and that, combined with the financial problems, finished him off.
Q. You're of a similar age but you lead a calmer life, no?
A. I have been married for 15 years. I have a 12-year-old kid and another who is 13. I take them to school; I live a middle-class life; I'm at home; I practice the clarinet and I exercise on my machine.