I admit to myself that it is
possible I will never be able to finish my
lifes work. My one and only book. And
that, in the end, without her there will be
nothing and I will die alone
as Dominic Matei, in Youth Without
IF YOU DON'T DO STRANGE AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING, Youth Without Youth
may not be for you. But it is a beautiful film with wonderful scenery of
India, Romania, Malta and Switzerland and is part romance, part psychological
thriller and part science fiction. With a dose of history and reincarnation
Pathé Distribution Ltd presents Francis Ford Coppola's mysterious drama Youth
Without Youth, coming to DVD. Based on the novella of the same name by Romanian
author Mircea Eliade, the film is the first directed by Academy Award-winning
Coppola (The Godfather Trilogy) since The Rainmaker in 1997.
The film opens in the late 1930s, with war casting its shadow over an uncertain
Romania, and stars Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Rob
Roy) as 70-year-old Dominic Matei,
a professor of linguistics who had become so obsessed with researching and writing
a book that he had driven away his fiancé, Laura (Alexandra Maria Lara), because
of his inability to share the burden of research with her. It now seemed that
the book would remain unfinished. Laura had married someone else and a year
later had died in childbirth.
While crossing the street, Dominic survives a direct lightning strike that leaves
him in hospital, bandaged from head to foot and unable to speak or to see. He
makes an astounding recovery and when his bandages are removed the doctors are
stunned to find that he has the physical appearance of a man thirty years younger.
Furthermore, it appears that the electricity that exploded above him causing
the electrical discharge had made possible a new personality emergence
So begins Dominic's conversations with himself his alter ego cleverly
shot as if he is talking to his image in the mirror. The image tells him of
intermediary beings such as arch-angels and seraphim intermediary between
consciousness and unconsciousness but also between nature and man; man and The
Divine. He is exploring his old passions of Philosophy and Religion.
He also has some assignations with the woman next door in room 6 (Alexandra
Pirici), who is apparently passing on information gleaned from their meetings
to the Nazis.
A clever man and a brilliant linguist, Dominic cannot hope to keep his physical
rejuvenation secret and before long it is attracting the attention of Nazi scientists
including the cruel and determined Josef Rudolf (André M Hennicke), whose
experiments have led him to believe that electrocution by a current of at least
a million volts could produce a radical mutation of the human species
and Adolf Hitler himself.
Professor Stanciulescu (Bruno Ganz) helps Dominic with a new identity and he
goes on the run into Switzerland. Dominic lives in the shadows and he throws
himself into completing his research into the origins of human language, trying
to keep one step ahead of Nazi spies. While walking in the mountains he meets
the lovely Veronica, who bears more than
a passing resemblance to Laura. Following an accident, Veronica begins to believe
she is Rupini, who lived in North Eastern India fourteen centuries ago and can
only speak Sanskrit.
Dominic's book, documenting the origin of language and human consciousness,
can now have the perfect researcher, but it soon becomes apparent that, by allowing
Veronica to regress, Dominic is placing her in grave danger.
Beautifully crafted, with stunning cinematography, Youth Without Youth
marks the return of a master filmmaker in top form. Dubbed 'The Godfather',
after his world famous trilogy, Francis Ford Coppola does something altogether
different here as he fuses the classical approach of his early years with today's
contemporary digital universe.
Produced, written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Youth Without Youth
is fascinating, with atmospheric music courtesy of Osvaldo Golijov. Some
nudity, and one disturbing image.
With special features that includes The
Make-Up of Youth Without Youth and The Music of Youth Without Youth,
this latest offering from the legendary director is available to own on DVD
from 21 April (2008).