Coppola’s second youth
by Natasha Senjanovic
The most awaited film of the RomeFilmFest may also be its most divisive. Although it screened today to a lukewarm reception from the press, Francis Ford Coppola’s Youth Without Youth [+see also:
film profile] has everyone talking.
Never one to shy from complex undertakings, the director has returned after a 10-year filmmaking absence with an ambitious adaption of the metaphysical novella by renowned Romanian writer-scholar Mircea Eliade.
Shot primarily in Romania with a local crew and numerous local actors, the film begins in 1938 and tells the story of Dominic Matei (Tim Roth), an elderly linguistics professor tormented by the fact that he will soon die, without finishing his life’s work and without his one true love (German actress Alexandra Maria Lara), whom he foolishly drove away in his youth because of his work.
Hit by lightning one Easter, he is miraculously rejuvenated some 40 years and is given a second youth. With the additional gift of speaking languages he has never studied, he returns to his lifelong passion – searching for the single language at the root of all human communication – while escaping the Nazis and making peace with a doppelganger. In the 1960s he falls in love with Veronica (Lara in a dual role),who has also experienced a cataclysmic change and begins channelling ancient languages from the sixth century on back.
While perhaps inspired by his own private and artistic struggles, Coppola denies that the film is autobiographical yet does admit to having wanted to be a different kind of filmmaker. “If I had the life of an older director as a young man, winning acclaim for The Godfather, I decided I could now have the life of a younger director, and make the kind of personal films I’ve always wanted to make,” he says.
This journey into “the essence of language as it defines consciousness” was also shot in Switzerland, Malta and India and is a co-production between the director’s company American Zoetrope, SRG Atelier (Romania), Pricel (France) and BIM (Italy), the latter which is releasing the title in Italy on October 26.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.