I know I am in the minority here but in my opinion, "Youth Without Youth" is the best film that Francis Ford Coppala has ever made.My apologies to fans of "The Godfather" films and "Apocalypse Now." While his more popular masterpieces were certainly well made films, "Youth Without Youth" takes a lot more chances and does not make any compromises.The film is about a 70 year old man who is struck by lightning. After he recovers from his injuries, he appears to be 30 years younger and does not age for the following 18 years or maybe not. The ending <more>
leaves much to interpretation, which will infuriate many people who are not willing to think for themselves. Parts of the film appear to be dreams sequences maybe the scenes that start upside down. Maybe the entire film after the lightning strike is a dream. Maybe the entire film was meant to be taken literally but probably not. At times "Youth Without Youth" seems like a David Lynch film without the horror aspects. There are doppelgangers and people with supernatural powers. It is surreal and strange and some scenes do not make sense in their sequence but are important in the entirety of the film."Youth Without Youth" is not a film for everybody. In fact, most people will probably not like it. But if you are a person who is willing to think about a film and bring your own interpretation to what is happening, you might end up loving this film.
A note first on style, to me, Youth Without Youth, is one of the most gorgeous modern films, it's one of the few films where the production team are exerting control to the extent when they can be described as using a palette. In this case the colours orange and blue predominate beautifully. There has been some suggestion in modern criticism, particularly in Sight & Sound, that "orange & teal" is a ugly fad that no-one will miss, I think Youth Without Youth is definitely deserving of special treatment. Certainly the blue here is less dingy than elsewhere in the <more>
"orange & teal" canon. The film is about a once brilliantly gifted scholar, Dominik Mattei played by Tim Roth , who appears to have wasted his life, and is now an old man, when suddenly he gets a second chance and returns to youth. The film is interesting, how did he waste his life? Is it because he didn't complete his life's work, a great book which was to contain a grand unifying theory on consciousness and the origins of language, or because he didn't pay enough attention to his beloved Laura?There are two main points of interest in the film for me, one relates to the allure of the situation Mattei is in and the dilemma it presents, and the other to the structure. As a teenager I read Daniel Keyes' 1959 novella Flowers For Algernon, which, in two different forms, has the rare prestige of having won both of science fiction's key writing awards, the Hugo and the Nebula. It's about an experiment performed on Charlie, a man with a very low IQ, who as a result of the experiment, progressively becomes the most intelligent man alive. At one point he criticises the scientist who performs the experiment, mentioning that the best rebuttal of his theories yet written has come from India. The scientist says he has not ever heard of the document which he discovers was written in Hindustani, and which he was therefore not in the position to read anyway. Charlie records, "I asked Dr. Strauss how Nemur could refute Rahajamati's attack on his method and results if Nemur couldn't even read them in the first place. That strange look on Dr. Strauss' face can mean only one of two things. Either he doesn't want to tell Nemur what they're saying in India, or else - and this worries me - Dr. Strauss doesn't know either."One key point of Flowers For Algernon, and also this film, is the allure of supernatural intelligence: what would our thoughts be if we had IQs in the thousands and could read books at a glance? The key tone of the Flowers is sadness, as we find that Charlie's new found faculties are temporary in nature and subside gradually. This tone dovetails with the film as well, because another of the key features of both artworks is the conflict between intellect and emotion. Is it more important to love, or to embrace aloof intellectual pursuits? My slanter tells you all you need to know about my position! In any case it's a very sad story, and I believe that is the heart of Youth Without Youth as well, it's an elegy.The parts of the film where senile Mattei is shown are very poignant and remind me of Mr Blank from Paul Auster's book Travels in the Scriptorium. Both men are vaguely aware of their past mistakes, and also both men are utterly alienated. A kind of tender nastiness pervades these bits if that isn't too oxymoronic. Francis Ford Coppola has mentioned his identification with Mattei, particularly regarding his failure to complete his sci-fi project Megalopolis.My other point concerns the structure. There's a passage towards the end where the Mattei describes an oriental tale of a dream where a prince dreams that he is a butterfly which dreams it is a prince, who dreams he was a butterfly et cetera . It's not clear in this film just which parts are dreamt, and which not, or whether that matters. It's more that the overall aesthetic conception of Mattei's story of the prince and the butterfly is what matters. In this sense it is similar to the Saragossa Manuscript or the 1001 Arabian Nights, where it is, to a large extent, the structure itself that intoxicates.There is also the issue of familiar to readers of Watchmen, of whether demi-god powers should be used for good or evil whether indeed it is right to interfere in human destiny at all , or whether they should be directed internally towards solipsism. This makes Roth is well cast, he is a typecast baddie, and this aura of badness here allows this ambiguity to take root. The film also sounds wonderful, and this is mainly due to the ethereal tone of the cymbalom. If you liked Tim Roth in this film I suggest you watch another movie in which he stars, The Legend of 1900 directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, which is also wonderful in a similar enigmatic way.And this review is dedicated to Claire, who is the first rose.
The hand of the master is all too apparent. (by diane-34)
Diane and I were privileged to watch this complex, sensitive and beguiling movie yesterday at Paradiso and although I was far more enamored of Coppola's effort than she, our afternoon was enriched by the hand of the master. Diane is a literary person much more than I am so my appreciation of Coppola's last film is based on his brilliance as the director who chose the shot angles, the setting of the shots as well as the shot size. In my opinion the result was superb! The images assembled by Coppola where apparent in the first minutes of the film; you knew immediately that you were <more>
watching a film in another dimension of excellence because everything that filled the screen was better than other movies that seem to be the normal output of Hollywood. This film's worth set it apart and put it into another league all together. This comment is not in any way meant to denigrate the efforts of other directors currently working; rather, it is an attempt to separate a true genius from the others; it says much more about Coppola than it does his fellow directors. You owe it to yourself to see this film.
Searching the eternal youth in Romania (by ekisest)
It's been a while since I have written anything for IMDb. "Youth Without Youth" is not only a very personal approach to a barely known novella by Mircea Eliade, but also a homage to Romanian culture and civilization. I felt really good watching a legendary filmmaker like Coppola before the special screening in Bucharest , walking on the stage and thanking sincerely to the Romanian cast and crew, and in the end, thanking all of us "for Mircea Eliade". I read Eliade's novella some months ago, and I found it difficult and "anti-cinematic", unlike "La <more>
tiganci" or other texts of his. "Youth" is, as I saw it, a meditation on time and the relation between human memory and identity. Eliade has been concerned with the theme of "la vita est sueno" life is dream for a long time, and his fiction shows it. Coppola also has been preoccupied with time, dreams and memory in his late films like "Peggy Sue", "Dracula" and "Jack". It might seem strange and paradoxical, but beyond the horror clichés and the gory make-ups, one can see lots of formal similarities in "Dracula" and "Youth...". The Italian American director is definitely bound to European Romanticism, and he tried to infuse a lot of new symbols the mirror, the moon on the bluish night sky, the skull etc to an already symbol-heavy-loaded narrative. Tim Roth is the ideal choice for the central character old Dominic Matei that grows young after a lightning stroke . The rest of the numerous cast is composed mainly of Romanian actors, most of which are famous in our country. Iures is known for the international public also, and handles his role elegantly, as usual. Maria Lara is a Romanian-born German actress, playing the role of Dominic Matei's lady friend and lover. The relationship between Dominic and Laura is beautifully developed by Coppola's rewriting of the initial novella. Near the end of the film, there is a moment shot in Malta where Dominic decides to break away from Laura, because of the dreadful effects of his supernatural youth on her physical condition. Both actors are impressive in this delicate scene.This film was, all in all, a pleasant surprise for me. I was expecting a more Hollywood-ish speculative and commercial-oriented style. Anyway, I personally still think the D.P. and the photographic department in general was overwhelmed by the magnitude of this project. Coppola should of thought more deeply about his choice, because Mihai Malaimare Jr. the D.P. and digital imagery was simply not enough ! It took over 2 years to complete this film anyway, so why didn't he use film instead of digital mediums? Was money really a problem here? Maybe Roth asked for a big fee, I don't know. This film won't be appreciated by a wide audience, because Eliade's literature is very special and restrictive you need to fancy Romanian folklore and oriental philosophies in order to get into this . In fact, Eliade's novella was clearly inspired as the main title shows by one of the most beautiful and profound fairy-tales ever: "Tinerete fara batranete si viata fara de moarte" hard to translate into English, but it might sound like "Eternal youth and life without death" . Even if you are not Romanian, you should check it out! It will change the way you feel about time and life, the way Eliade changed Coppola from an old mainstream Hollywood director into an arty European film experimenter.
A heavy and complex movie with deep philosophical implications (by siderite)
I was flabbergasted to see that a lot of the comments for this film were negative. The fact that the movie is not of a commercial nature doesn't make it bad, it just makes it less accessible. In this manner, it is just as bad for movies as a science paper is for publications.Anyway, the film is based on a book of Romanian Mircea Eliade, one that I didn't read. Actually, I didn't read most of Eliade's work for the very reasons people bad mouthed this film. Then I entered adolescence :-P.The film, though, is a resounding success to me. Not only that it is well done, but at the <more>
end of it, it let me wanting to understand more and to read the book. Maybe I will one of these days. As the film is impossible to summarize here, I will get to a quick conclusion.Bottom line: a heavy feeling film, with a complex script and a lot of philosophical ideas of Eliade's scattered through the story; also some of his personal obsessions: orientalism and the loss of the love of his life. I personally think it was a great movie, but it became a bit confused at the end.
what an amazing movie that stimulates imagination, putting upside down logics and leave space for more philosophical designs such as time going by, conscience and knowledge, origins of the language or confusion between dream and reality. what a spectacular work for a voyage through history, science and philosophy. a real 'coup de foudre ' for me as well!: what an amazing movie that stimulates imagination, putting upside down logics and leave space for more philosophical designs such as time going by, conscience and knowledge, origins of the language or confusion between dream and <more>
reality. what a spectacular work for a voyage through history, science and philosophy. a real 'coup de foudre ' for me as well!
I was surprised and fortunate to find a movie of this caliber by chance, since I'd never heard of the release; at first, I actually thought it was an old movie, one that I hadn't seen. I' am bewildered and frankly frightened by the obscene IMDb rating of "6.6" - the current evaluation of this movie, by the audiences frequenting these boards - a prime example of the fact that taste is a controversial matter. Albeit, this movie isn't for everyone; if you regard the world as being a solved puzzle, if you've figured it all out; what it's all about, if nothing <more>
mystifies or captivates your senses and entelechy, if you are utterly unenchanted by the magical and mysterious nature of reality, this movie will be a huge disappointment for you. Please don't watch it, since it's not made for you, and hence, you will distort the perception of the movie. In-fact, if any of the latter apply, don't watch this movie, it will only bring grieve. The movie is stunning in its appearance, the characters are believable, the story is uncompromising, relentless, of an epic nature, and the atmosphere is hypnotic and enchanting.I was sucked into the world of this strange professor.I only regard the ending as being less then perfect; however, such movies are never easy to end. An essential and unique experience.
I would really enjoy speaking with Mr. Capolla concerning this masterful piece of work that he has just recently presented to us. I would like to ask him, what this film means to him, and what Dominic and Vanessa represent to him, in his own life, or in the world today. It is because of the unique direction Capolla took in making this splendid film, that I am presented this opportunity to ask these questions, and many more like them. You simply cannot ask questions of this nature in most of the movies you see out there in this new hi-tech cinema age. I like using my imagination, and doing so <more>
in a fashion that allows me to utilize the creative part of my brain to explore and push the limits with my mind's horizon. Due to Capolla's ability with the high level of creativity he obviously possesses and uses both w/ the story line and the magnificent camera work in his new film, you are forced to stretch your mind and actually think about what it is you are watching. This is why I enjoyed the film immensely. I consider myself a rare and a unique person, Im not sure if its just vanity or normalcy? . A person who is open minded so much so, that I often get wrapped up in my thinkings. My thinkings involve, normally, the destiny, the origin, religion, the impossible, the logical, history, future, the "real" meaning, and of course myself is always involved as well.. No matter what triggers the thought at hand these topics always seem to throw themselves into the swirling mixture of my unraveling of new truths, or fantasies? While trying ever so persistently to stumble into something....unimaginable, or perhaps, fantastic-sometimes horrific--never the less, I'm constantly "figuring things out", no matter how "absurd". The key is....your ability to open your mind. That, in turn, shall unlock...the ability to watch a film for instance, and relay your personal knowledge and ideas of all subjects in life, to what is unfolding before your eyes on the screen and make a connection... literally...in life...on film...simultaneously And then reflect...what could this mean...or, what did I actually just witness...what is this film trying to reveal to me or, say to me...? What if this means....and that represents...?!?!?All movies may not be so fun for your mind and soul to explore in this fashion, however this one is. Analytical, and metaphoric, and symbolic gestures, roles, and events is the name of this game and deep into it you will be if you think about what you are watching, use your imagination to unlock the mysteries and put yourself in their shoes in order to figure out the real meaning of this movie to you, as an individual. What a wonderful film! You see, symbolism is a beautiful thing. And Capolla masters the art of perplexing and dramatic movie making in "Youth Without youth" Definitely a must see for those who enjoy mysterious dramas. Anything, just about, can become an analogy or a metaphor...and it becomes personal, meaningful, and symbolic to each individual who watches, in its very own way. That is, to those who choose to participate in the processes of higher self-learning through film. And I say this as a warning to the weak minded...to those who cannot stand to have to think while watching a movie, they just like being entertained like a child watching his Saturday morning cartoons. If you're one of these weak minded individuals who prefer shallow spoofs, slapstick comedy, and blood, guts, and gore....this glorious film is not for you! I hold it true that one's personal confirmations into these metaphors, this films symbolism even if made so unintentionally these confirmations you will make when watching, they can NEVER be proved wrong. Even w/ 1,000 different personal opinionated results. If you understood this commentary and you are similar in the thought processes as I, then, by all means, I believe you shall enjoy this film, whatever it shall mean to you... :
Three Roses, Four Walls, Five Dimensions... (by ThurstonHunger)
I saw mention of "Altered States" in the comments section, but I think a more apt parallel might be "The Fountain" by Aronofsky. In that film, an intellectual pursuit is pitted in juxtaposition to the more human pursuit of love. In "The Fountain" science is the pursuit and it is employed towards the end of salvaging a relationship, whereas with Coppola the pursuit is philosophy and its pursuit decidedly comes first symbolically and then physically at the unraveling of love.So, yes this is a cerebral film. One that is driven often by dialog, including dialog <more>
conducted between a man and his double...and also in a language of the protagonists own creation. And yet the message here, while convoluted never came across as mere gibberish to me.Instead, I hear the echoes of an old man, Coppola, who perhaps has seen his own life, and maybe lives of those around him, consumed by his own calling. And with the double, what film maker cannot feel the presence of a vying reality. Here we have mirrors, like Coppola's "Rumble Fish" shadows, that do not match the reality they should reflect.I felt like the lightning strike could be seen as a character's epiphany that he is indeed a character in a story. More fifth dimension than fourth wall. But nonetheless fascinating. A superhero of sorts is born, but not exactly a Marvel.Back to Aronofky's "Fountain" that film for me got bogged down in the trompe du CG-eye, whereas in "Youth Without Youth" whoever did the scenery scouting should be applauded. I felt more grounded in the real, yet often captivating, world filmed. Was Malta, Malta or just another aspect of Romania? Too bad I didn't feel the same way about casting, although others here have lauded Roth and Ganz, they were weaker links for me in their particular roles. Clearly Roth's role/s was/were demanding, for me he has the nervous energy of someone looking over his shoulder, more than a man lost in an inward gaze. A better maniac than a monomaniac. And Ganz, it felt like all of his lines were re-dubbed, to the point of a CGI-level distraction.Nonetheless, a film with tricky mirrors provides some interesting reflection. Ultimately the film neither flaunts love as the salvation, nor rigorous study as providing an ultimate reward. For me the message was not even mystical, but simply that nature will claim every man.Sure as the snow...