“Honey, are you O.K.?”, asked his wife, Soon-Yi. “Have you’ve had another nasty ‘tweet’ from Ronan?”
“No,” replied Allen, wiping his eyes, “really, I’m feeling great for someone who’s received an almost rhapsodically rude letter from a total stranger telling him where he can – or should not - work.”
“What d’ya mean?”
“My correspondent – er, Sara Lapidus - is a British woman living in Haifa and she’s begging me not to work in Israel.”
“Now that is weird! Is it a security issue?”
“No, that would make more sense. She says she was so embarrassed by To Rome With Love when she viewed it at a screening last week, that she shuffled home as swiftly as possible to avoid meeting anyone she knew. She says she doesn’t want to talk about it. Except with me!”
“Huh! We come across all sorts of cranks in the biz. It seems she’s trying to get something else off her chest. What does she actually say?” asked Soon-Yi.
“Here, read it for yourself:”
“’Dear Mr Allen, I’ve been one of your devoted fans since the early 70s and am thrilled that your films often open in Israel many months before they’re distributed in the U.K. Indeed, on my advice, last year several British charities held fundraising screenings of Midnight In Paris and made many thousands of pounds for projects here. We all thought you’d returned to your magically funny best.
“’But this latest offering – To Rome With Love – is nothing short of an artistic disaster. With its paper-thin multi plot, overdone picture-postcard images of Rome and hackneyed one-liners, it bears all the signs of a vainglorious old man who should have folded away his director’s chair 20 years ago.
“’The world knows you have a penchant for younger women, Mr Allen, but did you have to make your own character the father of a girl in her twenties? For Heaven’s sake, you’re old enough to be her grandfather! You look ridiculous!
“’In my view, Rome was cobbled together quite shamelessly on the back of Paris in the desperate hope you’d found another winning formula. It doesn’t work that way.
“Well, she’s got balls. Who is this woman? A critic for The Jerusalem Post?”
“She doesn’t say what she does, but my bet is that she’s been reading the American Press. Did you see that Rob Eshman, editor of the Jewish Journal plans to raise $18M to get me over there? It’s very flattering but I’m beginning to feel cornered, especially as I’ve also had direct invitations from the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat and his counterpart in Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai.
“Even President Shimon Peres is backing the idea. For crying out loud, how can I turn down a request from a guy like that? Instead of a comedy, I could make his bio-pic. Now that would be a real honour. It would certainly be worth a visit, just for that. You’d come with me, sweetheart? Yes?”
“I’d love that. Maybe we could also go to South Korea,” mused Soon-Yi. You’ve got your homeland – I’ve got mine.
“And I’ve also heard there are Korean-born people who’ve met and married Israelis and then settled there. It would be really good to try to meet some of them.”
“Why not? Y’know, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. After all, what’s right about you and me could also be true of us both regarding Israel:
"The heart wants what it wants. There's no logic to those things. You meet someone and you fall in love and that's that.’"
“So it’s Israel and Korea – here we come?”
“You bet! Now come over here and gimme a kiss!”
(Copyright, Natalie Irene Wood – 27 July 2012)