"Cafe Society" was a phrase coined by Maury Henry Biddle Paul in 1915 to describe the "beautiful people" who socialized and threw parties in the high profile cafés and restaurants in New York, Paris, and London.
This is Woody Allen's first film since Love and Death (1975) made without co-executive producer Jack Rollins, who died in 2015 at the age of 100. Rollins was Allen's longtime manager, and they collaborated for over 45 years.
At the Cannes 2016 Opening Night screening of this film, master of ceremonies Laurent Lafitte said, "It's very nice that you've been shooting so many movies in Europe, even if you are not being convicted for rape in the U.S." The joke, which drew gasps from the Palais audience, was taken as a knock on Woody Allen. (Variety, May 2016). It could also be a reference to Roman Polanski, who fled the US for Europe in 1977 after pleading guilty to statutory rape. Switzerland and Poland have refused to extradite Polanski.
Director Woody Allen had never worked with cinematographer Vittorio Storaro before despite having collaborated with a number of notable directors of photography. They ran into each other at a restaurant. Indiewire reported that Allen said: "We were never on the same schedule. This time we were both at liberty. I called him. And I had the honor of working with this great cinematographer."
Bobby is told to stop with the "Uncle" it's "Phil", they don't want to over-emphasize the nepotism. This is a rare example of that word being used exactly, for it comes from Catholic popes (who had no sons) making their nephews into cardinals.
The film's "Café Society" title had previously been used around twenty-one years earlier but without the accent on the letter "e". Cafe Society (1995) told the story of a society playboy with a taste for the lowlife and is set up for exploitation by an unscrupulous undercover cop and his shadowy political masters. An earlier Cafe Society (1939) was actually made during the 1930s period that this 2016 made picture is set. Moreover, this 2016 Woody Allen film is one of two features debuting in this year with this title, the other is made for television, and again without the accent over the letter "e" [See: Cafe Society (2016)].
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
When Ben's history of theft is shown, it includes a subtle homage to The 400 Blows (1959) when it says that his life of crime includes stealing typewriters when he was a schoolboy. The protagonist of that film, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), stole a typewriter when he was at school.