This article originally appeared in
October 12, 2007
Film spotlight: "Youth Without
Youth"

By ERIC J. LYMAN

ROME --Perhaps the most hotly anticipated world premiere in the short
history of the RomaCinemaFest, Francis Ford Coppola's highly personal
"Youth Without Youth" nearly skipped the festival route in the wake of the stir
caused by his daughter Sophia's "Marie Antoinette" at Cannes last year.

Eventually, Coppola said he decided
to premiere the film in Rome because
it was, as he called it, a "people's
festival" rather than one designed for
studio executives and industry power
brokers. Such a decision is a significant
one for the five-time Oscar winner's first
film in a decade -- and a project he
says may be his most personal yet.

Based on a novella of the same name
by Romanian author and religious
historian Mircea Eliade, "Youth Without
Youth" is set in 1930s-era Bucharest.
It tells the story of a man of letters
miraculously healed from what was
thought to be a fatal lightning strike.
After the cure, he becomes younger
and more intelligent.

The newly youthful and brilliant
professor dedicates himself to studying
the origins of language and consciousness as war starts to brew in Europe.
By the end of the complicated story, the professor and his love interest
practically speak in a language of their own creation.

Both a psychological thriller and love story spanning three decades and two
continents, the tale is said to be an intersection between the natural and the
supernatural, myth and history, science and dreams.

The film stars Tim Roth in the dynamic role of Dominic, the miraculously
healthy patient, with Bruno Ganz as his doctor who "cures" him, and
Alexandra Maria Lara as the love interest.

Coppola said he decided to make the film while he was struggling to
complete another film, "Megalopolis." He gave the script to childhood friend
Wendy Doniger, who returned it with several lines from Eliade, her mentor.
When Coppola read it, he secretly switched focus.

"The story touched my life," Coppola says in the film's press notes. "Like its
leading character, Dominic, I was tortured and stumped by my inability to
complete an important work. At 66, I was beginning to feel at the end of the
road ... my creative life was unfulfilled. And in this story, an old man becomes
young again, and he aggressively seizes that extra time."

Coppola followed suit, immediately departing to scout locations in Romania,
and then shooting for 84 straight days in the Eastern European nation over
the winters of 2005 and 2006. It is a film Coppola wanted to make so much
that he financed it himself, using the cash flow from the successful
vineyards the director owns in Napa Valley. He first screened the film for
friends after the Academy Awards last February; the general public will get its
first glimpse in Rome.

Sony has picked up the U.S. rights to the film, which will open in the U.S. in
December.
(c) 2007 The Hollywood Reporter
All rights reserved.
Volume 77; Number 9
Volume 77; Number 9
Francis Ford Coppola
October 28, 2007
RomaCinemaFest ends
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RomaCinemaFest sets
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Fest success good news for
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Film spotlight: "Youth
Without Youth"

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