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Francis Ford Coppola
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Francis Ford Coppola
James Earl Jones
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1938, Romania: at 70, a professor of language and philosophy, Dominic Matei, contemplates suicide: the love of his life is dead, and he remains unable to complete his life's work on the origins of language. Then, he's struck by lightning. After a slow recovery, he grows younger. He must now avoid Nazis, who want to study and experiment on him. Some years later, he meets a young woman who has her own passage through a lightning storm. Not only does Dominic find love again, but her new abilities hold the key to his research. Is the sweetness of life finally at hand? Written by
During the 1950s period of the movie, Laura is transported across India in an Indian C-130 Hercules but the aeroplane has RAF markings. Also, Laura and Dominic hail a taxi whilst in India and are picked up by a London black cab rather than an Indian Ambassador cab. See more »
In "Heart of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse", a brilliant documentary about making of "Apocalypse Now", Francis Ford Coppola said he was on a learning process while making that film, as he delved into mysteriousness of jungle. In the end, his on-screen works is like a reflection to his own experience. Many years later (20 years to be exact) and 10 years absent from his latest directorial effort (1997's "The Rain Maker"), Coppola tried to do exact same thing like he did in the past.
"Youth Without Youth" is interesting, yet undeniably confusing tale of Dominic Matei (Tim Roth) who is a professor of language and philosophy in early 19th century. His goal is trying to accomplish a research that he claims to be the key of all human's language. But as it turns out, it might be impossible to finish it after all. This research changed his behavior from fascination into obsession. As he lose everything he loves including his fiancé, Veronica (Alexandra Maria Lara), he has nothing left to live on. Many years later, in a blink of World War II, 77-years-old Dominic is on the way to end his miserable life. But then, lightening suddenly stuck at him before he has a chance to do so. The lightening didn't kill him, instead it miraculously rejuvenates his life. Now, he looks like in mid-30's and gave him a supernatural abilities like reading book without open it, mind bending psychic or even developing his own Dr. Jerkyll and Mr. Hyde-like ultra-ego.
After World War II's over, Dominic is traveling throughout the world. He began to look into his research again since now he has a plenty of times to do. But then, he accidentally met his fiancé's dead ringer named Laura (also played by Alexandra Maria Lara). As it turned out, she also happened to be stuck by lightening and develops another supernatural ability which she can speak ancient languages while she slept. Dominic knows right away that it might be an only chance for him to accomplish his unfinished project. But it came with one sacrifice condition, if he decides to stay with her, it might be the way to ending her life.
There's an only one different thing between getting lost in the jungle of Philippines and getting lost in freezing cold city of Romania. And that is "Youth Without Youth" lose its audience's commitment as we keep accompany him to his personal enlightenment (in another words, he wasn't wholeheartedly let us ride along in this time around). With his beyond comprehensible dialogs about metaphysical theory and non-linear stories that keep tangled up like a maze, Youth Without Youth seem to be a failure. No, it's magnificent failure from the master of modern cinema living today.
The cast is another story here, since they served their duty pretty well especially Tim Roth (again, one of the most unused actor living today) who would do all it take to make us believe in the protagonist. And he seemed to really understand what Francis Ford Coppola is trying to achieve. The movie also accompanied by beautiful score (if shamelessly cloying) by Osvaldo Golijov and surprisingly neat cinematography by Mihai Malaimare Jr.
"Youth Without Youth" require a multiple viewing, in order to understand some of its massages. Truth be told, I didn't really get it. Coppola once said in the interview that this story is very personal to him. Well, maybe this film wasn't exactly making for us. It's sure gonna make a lot of people frustrated. For me, I'm just glad that he's back to work again.
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